Garden Glimpses

Each day has its own beauty, and a mindful attitude enables us to discover the awe and wonder of each moment.

~Stephen Hatch


Wildflowers blooming in the garden (click photos to enlarge)

I’ve been back from Yellowstone about a month now. It took me  a couple of weeks to go through my images and post blogs on the trip. I just finished that process last week and then took a short break from blogging. To be honest, the heat and humidity, plus the realization that I won’t be seeing bears, wolves, or large ungulates, has dampened my enthusiasm for getting out and about. I have been busy doing chores and errands here and catching up on the gardening which has required watering at least twice each day due to the aforementioned heat and lack of rain. To be fair to my North Carolina woods, I have seen a lot of birds (the usual suspects), a couple of new fawns, and a variety insects, but have just taken a break from carrying the camera. Yesterday I decided it was about time, so I carried the 100 mm macro, two extension tubes, and the twin flash out in the garden to see what I could see.

Coneflower single

Coneflower in bloom

A large clump of some sort of coneflower (Rudbeckia sp.) has managed to survive the heat and poor soil of the area outside the raised garden beds and has been blooming for the past week.

Coneflower showing stamens ripening

Stamens appear first with the ripe anthers and bright yellow pollen

A close look shows how the male parts of the flower open first, moving from the bottom of the flower head toward the tip. The female parts then follow that pattern as they mature a little later.

Bee collecting pollen

Bee collecting pollen

The abundant bright yellow pollen attracts a host of pollinators, especially small bees. They become covered with pollen as they work the flower heads, moving in tight circles around each flower before buzzing off to another.

Bumblebee on monarda

Bumblebee on Monarda

A nearby patch of Monarda is bringing in larger insects, especially bumblebees. I need to work on my ability to identify species of this important group of pollinators. There are now a lot of great references available so it should be much easier than in years past and there is growing concern about population declines in some species.

I spent an hour or so wandering the 300 square feet of the garden, and was rewarded with some beautiful flowers, interesting behaviors, and a few species I need to try to identify. While not quite the same as trying to grasp the wonders of the 2.2 million acres of my favorite national park, it still can be rewarding to spend some time in the wilderness outside your doorway.

Flesh Fly

An unknown species of fly, most likely one of the so-called Flesh Flies

Larva on bean

Unidentified larva drilling into one of my green beans

Lightning Bug

Lightning Bug

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