Friday, August 16, 2013

All Petticoats and No Pollen

 I have to admit I don't know much about zinnias, but I grew some from seed this year because I read that the red ones attracted hummingbirds. I did see a hummingbird swoop down and take a sip, but they haven't exactly been a big success. Maybe one needs a critical mass of them.

Now see this zinnia is pretty enough for a Victorian seed catalogue illustration, but where's the nectar? Where's the pollen? Were Victorian plant breeders a bit too obsessed with the erotica of petticoats?

Now here's a zinnia with substance.  The bumblebees systematically go round in circles sipping the nectar in these flowers with a single row of petals.

And here's a compromise--still lots of petals, but some pollen and nectar. Now these flowers change as they mature, and I can't tell you if some of these petals fall off to reveal more florets, so I'll have to watch mine and see what develops.

 These zinnias are all in a garden plot at 16 Oaks Community Garden and they do brighten up a grey August afternoon.

Hello little ladybug larva!

Look at this amazing crop of goji berries! I am so jealous. These would be great in a bee hedgerow.

 This is one of the West Coast seeds wildflower mix--I can see them all over town. The ones with less corn poppies seem to fare better. I wish each variety was in its own little seed packet, but it's great to see these little wildflower patches here and there all over Vancouver.

"Air Pollution and Urban Grown Food Crops in Vancouver: Understanding and Reducing the Risk."

Curioser and curioser!

 Can you believe the color of these tomatoes?!

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