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Posts tagged “blue vervain

“Everything Is Connected”

bumblebee on vervain by bernadette e. kazmarski

Save Your Native Bees

The flower of a tomato plant has the pollen so tightly held on the anther that it takes the vibration of a bumblebee to loosen it. The bee becomes dusted with the golden treasure, and leaves that flower for the next flower, spreading this elixir of life for tomatoes while gathering some for his own family back at the hive.

After WWII, when we began monocropping larger and larger farms, we used all the new pesticides invented during the war to kill off all the “weeds” in the fields which were too large to work by hand and making it easier for farmers to grow and harvest huge amounts of food. But the “weeds” were native wildflowers that fed the bees, that pollinated those fields.

I listened to a speaker tell us about all the ways bees make life on earth possible. Bees, yes, the ones we may be frightened of stinging us, the ones we don’t want building nests in our attics, the ones we wave away at picnics, the ones that are disappearing all over the globe and no one understands why.

I heard Marla Spivak in a segment entitled, “Why Are Bees Disappearing?” on the TED Radio Hour, which offers three or four segments of TED Talks under one topic, this one being “Everything Is Connected”.

If you garden, you know know these things, but many people do not. You can make a difference with your own back yard, letting your grass and cultivated plants mix with or be replaced by native species. I did this, and rather than being criticized and fined for a messy overgrown yard, my neighbors and visitors describe it as “lush” and “like a park”. And I am rewarded with this…

blue vervain

Evening Purple Dance

The delicate purple spikes of blue vervain bloom in the quiet time of the summer, elegant and dignified among the frenzy of production in my vegetable garden. One of my favorite wildflowers for its color and its sweet blooming, blue vervain was a volunteer in my garden, finding my little space acceptable to its needs.

In return I am rewarded with watching native honeybees visit to collect pollen, knowing I am at least doing a bit in the effort to save them by maintaining a wildness about my yard. I watched this bee march all the way around each little circlet of flowers before moving on to the next circlet.

honeybee on blue vervain

Save the Bumblebees

And purple and green below—my favorite color combination! Looks like it might be Euglossa dilemma or a Little Green Sweat Bee, but I don’t know my bees all that well. The tiny spiders have taken up residence as well. In fact, blue vervain is native to most of North America and along with the flowers attracting important pollinators, the seeds are also important through the winter for songbirds, and the plant is the larval host for the common buckeye butterfly and it has a long history of medicinal use for humans. Refer to this USDA document to read more.

little green bee on blue vervain

Little Green Bee, also an important pollinator.

Please feel free to copy and past this image with a link back to this post. Here’s another post with bees and wildflowers.

. . . . . . .

For a print of any photo, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms. For photos of lots of black cats and other cats—and even some birds as I first published this post there—visit The Creative Cat.


Evening Purple Dance

blue vervain
blue vervain

Evening Purple Dance

The delicate purple spikes of blue vervain bloom in the quiet time of the summer, elegant and dignified among the frenzy of production in my vegetable garden. One of my favorite wildflowers for its color and its sweet blooming, blue vervain was a volunteer in my garden, finding my little space acceptable to its needs.

In return I am rewarded with watching native honeybees visit to collect pollen, knowing I am at least doing a bit in the effort to save them by maintaining a wildness about my yard. I watched this bee march all the way around each little circlet of flowers before moving on to the next circlet.

honeybee on blue vervain

Save the Bumblebees

And purple and green below—my favorite color combination! Looks like it might be Euglossa dilemma or a Little Green Sweat Bee, but I don’t know my bees all that well. The tiny spiders have taken up residence as well. In fact, blue vervain is native to most of North America and along with the flowers attracting important pollinators, the seeds are also important through the winter for songbirds, and the plant is the larval host for the common buckeye butterfly and it has a long history of medicinal use for humans. Refer to this USDA document to read more.

little green bee on blue vervain

Little Green Bee, also an important pollinator.

Please feel free to copy and past this image with a link back to this post. Here’s another post with bees and wildflowers.

bumblebee on vervain by bernadette e. kazmarski

SaveYourNativeBees

. . . . . . .

For a print of any photo, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms. For photos of lots of black cats and other cats—and even some birds as I first published this post there—visit The Creative Cat.


Creekside Wildflowers, 2011

wildflowers along a creek
wildflowers along a creek

Creekside Wildflowers

Autumn wildflowers aren’t nearly as showy as spring wildflowers, but their lacy forms create clouds of shape and texture and delicate color, especially along a water’s edge.

These wildflowers are growing right along Chartiers Creek in Carnegie, and that’s the neat thing about wildflowers—they’ll spring up anywhere they can find a bit of soil for roots.

Starting from the left…

The yellow flowers are evening primrose, a native biennial that opens as its name predicts, in the evening. The flowers are just opening here.

The deep violet flowers are purple loosestrife, an non-native invasive perennial that was popular in gardens but which has escaped and is very successful growing along the edge of any body of water. It’s not too abundant here, but in areas where it becomes established it crowds out native plants that feed local songbirds and attract native insects for pollination.

Near the center, at about 11:00, there is one stem visible from blue vervain, another native with tiny seeds that finches love.

The fuzzy pink flowers are joe-pye weed, a native annual, and can grow anywhere from one to six feet tall with curved umbels of soft pink flowers. To the left of the joe-pye you’ll see some white flowers as if the joe-pye is fading to white—this is actually boneset, another native annual.

On the right you can see a spray of pink flowers. I first saw this several years ago and simply could not identify it with any of my guide books. Then two years ago I saw a specimen in a conservation garden and thought I’d marked it in my book when I got home, but no. I’ll have to go out and find it again.