This is just to grab your attention. Two Agopenstemon bees (aka sweat bees), and possibly a digger bee, on one of my sunflowers. This is an open pollinated sunflower variety originally cultivated by the Tarahumara tribe that I got from Seed Saver’s Exchange. Sunflowers were domesticated in what is now the Southeastern US or in what is now Mexico, possibly both simultaneously, before 2300 BCE when the first examples of domesticated sunflowers show up in the archaeological record. Which is a great segue to the fact that I’m pretty new at this native plant game. I studied Anthropology and worked as an Archaeologist for 5 years until I wound up in Georgia and started working with and learning about the native plants.
Here is another bloom in my yard. Great Blue Lobelia, or Lobelia siphilitica,
got its unfortunate Latin name because people used to think that this plant was a cure for venereal disease. Life was tough before the discovery of antibiotics. Most people relied on plants or extracts of plant parts for recovering their health.
A close cousin, Downy Lobelia, or Lobelia puberula, has fine hairs on its leaves and tends to have a more pastel violet bloom.
Coreopsis grandiflora, or Largeflower Tickseed. This subspecies (var. saxicola) gets nearly four feet tall if supported. These are climbing my tomato cages. Tomatoes are how I got into growing plants in the first place. All of the native plants pictured above have been in my yard for less than two years. If you do your research and get a good mix of plants that bloom in each season, you can have flowers blooming somewhere in your yard for 9 months of the year or more. I’ve probably covered about April to November in my yard and, like I said I’ve only been at this for about two years.
I leave you with a bee taking refuge in a Hibiscus bloom. Hibiscus blooms were my grandmother’s favorite flower, so it seems appropriate to round out my personal history with this one. Planting season is just around the corner. You too can have a yard full of blooms next year if you start now.