Saturday, July 18, 2009

SunflWOWers

My first Lemon Queen Sunflower bloomed earlier today and I though I'd take the time to do a survey for The Great Sunflower Project.


Of course in my garden it didn't take very long. Almost everything has a constant flow of assorted bees working it. What should have been a 30 minute survey ended after 10 minutes, as that's how long it took for 5 different bees to visit one flower.

You should note that Lemon Queen Sunflowers are NOT photographed here in this post. That variety of sunflower has pale yellow flower petals with a very dark brown almost black center. They're not as colorful as the Great American Hybrid and Mammoth Sunflowers that I have planted. Skyscraper is another good one.


A native digger bee collecting pollen.




It didn't take long for this bee to become covered in pollen. In an attempt to get clean she took off and started hovering infront of the flower.


I was toying with the idea of planting all along our patio or deck. They are ideal for creating a screen between you and the bird feeder.


They're not only good at producing seeds. A number of Lepidoptera also use them as a host plant.

Regardless of why you plant them though Sunflowers are easily the most inexpensive garden plant. For $1 you'll get 10 to 50 seeds depending on what variety. And in only a year those tiny seeds turn into some of the most spectacular plants. Seeds can be saved after they flower for the following year, it's a natural bird food, some varieties can even be eaten. They're also being considered for use in biofuel. It is a mystery why more people don't plant them.

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