I realize I have several flowers that I refer to as my favorite flower. When I reflected on that fact today, it occurred to me that my favorite flower changes with the season. In the spring, my favorite flowers are the blooms on my magnolia tree; in summer, I am intrigued by the echinacea flowers; and at this time of the year, my favorite flowers are the ones on my aster shrub. I think I have taken more beautiful shots of those flowers than any other.
I planted red clover as a cover crop in my garden last October. I’ve done that before and just turned the plants over in the spring. This year, a friend told me she always lets it grow because she loves the red flowers it produces. I decided to find out what those flowers were like. I was not disappointed.
The bumble bees love it and I’ve seen one honey bee gathering nectar there as well. I look forward to examining one of the flowers under the microscope next week. What a fun way to provide nutrients to my garden soil.
I have been fascinated by Echinacea flowers since I was introduced to them last year. I know that bees and butterflies love them too. In the last two weeks I have planted three Echinacea plants in or near my front yard vegetable garden.
The bees are already visiting the Echinacea. Next year, I hope the butterflies will come as well. I was so excited when I saw one yellow butterfly in my garden earlier this year. That was the first one I’d seen in years.
This afternoon, I decided to look at two of the orange flowers under the microscope. Most of the photos below are of one of the smaller, and younger, flowers. It was similar to the flower that you can see at the bottom center of the photograph at the top of this post.
same part of the flower but further from center
flower upside down
I think the microscopic photographs are like works of art. This is my favorite of the shots I took today.
The next group of photos show what the flower looked like when I cut the center part of it in half. I found the white photo particularly fascinating. (Click on it if you want to see a clearer view.) The intricacies of nature never cease to amaze me.
This last group of photos shows three views of one of the bigger and older Echinacea flowers.
Every time I look at my Echinacea flowers, I think of the Echinacea field at Amma’s Center in Chicago (M.A. Center Chicago) that I saw earlier this summer. I will end this post with an aerial video that was taken of that field last year.
Of all the flowers in my garden, the ones I love the most are the purple asters. When I arrived home yesterday, I noticed that that plant was brimming with small bees. I pulled out my camera and started snapping photos. I was amazed when I looked at them later. Such incredible beauty.
I’ve had a garden in my front yard the last few years, but it has never been like this before. Maybe it is because of the new raised beds, or the extraordinarily hot weather, or the vermi-compost.
Whatever the reason, I am marveling at what is unfolding in front of my eyes! There have been times when everything was growing so fast that I wondered if I was living in the Jack and the Beanstalk story.
This may not amaze those of you who are used to successful gardens but this is the first time I’ve had this experience!
One of the things I am especially happy about is that the garden is full of bees. Most are bumblebees but there are honey bees as well. Two years ago bees were rarely to be found in my garden.
This past June, I was very disturbed by the lack of honey bees in my garden (We Need the Bees). While bumblebees were present throughout the summer, and at least some honey bees from mid July on, I don’t think I ever saw a bee of any kind in the bee balm, a plant known for attracting bees. While I grieve that the world’s bee population has decreased so significantly, and hope we can do what it takes to bring them back, my heart lifted when I saw this visitor in the bee balm one day. This bird, or others like it, returned almost every day. While the hummingbird is gone now, I have not forgotten it, and look forward to the possibility of its return next summer! At that time, I hope I am also blessed with the sight of seeing honey bees drinking nectar from the bee balm.
As I was sitting in my doctor’s office this morning, I thought about Bastet’s Pixelventures newest challenge. Our assignment this week is to take a spontaneous picture and then edit it using one of the photo editing apps. I realized I had an opportunity to take that photo while I waited for the doctor!
Two years ago a friend gave me a bee balm plant. Last year had quite a few blooms. This year it has taken off. At this point it is 64 inches tall and is full of blooms!
Bee balm is known to attract butterflies, hummingbirds and bees. It is also considered edible and medicinal.
While I have been delighted by the number of blooms on my plant, I have also felt distressed by how few bees there are both in the bee balm and in my garden as a whole. I’m also concerned that essentially all the bees are bumblebees. There are almost no honey bees despite the fact that I have neighbors three houses down who have honey bee hives. It has never been this bad before.