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Sunflowers

A stray sunflower seed decided that the spot just outside the garden gate was perfect and gave Mary’s garden an attractive marker. It will eventually have a dozen blossoms, each one serving as a buffet for the local bumblebees:

Sunflower with bumblebee

Sunflower with bumblebee

Each bee makes several complete circuits of the florets, draining the nectar and collecting pollen as she goes:

Sunflower with bumblebee - detail

Sunflower with bumblebee – detail

Mary tucks the open gate inside the garden to avoid disturbing the pollinators, as wasps tend to have short fuses and multiple-strike stingers:

Sunflower with wasp

Sunflower with wasp

The bumblebee traveled clockwise and the wasp went counterclockwise, but I don’t know if that’s the general rule. I certainly won’t dispute their choices!

In a few weeks, long after the petals fall away, a myriad small birds will harvest the dried seeds…

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  1. #1 by Red County Pete on 2015-09-19 - 10:39

    I tried sunflowers this season, but both batches got eaten. The first made it to 4″ until something got into the half barrels. The replacements were eaten as they sprouted, despite deer cloth.

    I lost a bunch of zucchini in raised beds to ground squirrels, and was on pace to lose the entire crop. A “have a heart” trap baited with zucchini caught the 4 offenders, and once they were gone, we did well. We ate them raw and gave a few boxes to the mission’s shelter. Had a lot of ground squirrels this spring and summer, though most stuck with grasses. A few weeks ago, they went away, I suspect as hawkchow to the red tails. Now we have a bumper crop of chipmunks.

    • #2 by Red County Pete on 2015-09-19 - 10:41

      ate them raw

      The zucchini!

      • #3 by Ed on 2015-09-19 - 12:33

        Sissy…

        • #4 by Red County Pete on 2015-09-19 - 18:27

          Even our see-food eating* lab-retriever/aussie-shepherd isn’t crazy about ground squirrel.

          (* with a very loose definition of “food”)