Annuals are blooming, and bugs are buzzing at the HMR Flowers for Pollinators site. Because there are many native, and some non-native perennials surrounding our plants here, we know it’s a big deal when insects choose our flowers.
So far I’ve seen many native bees and flies enjoying the flowers of Salvia coccinea var. Coral Nymph. S. coccinea has unique stamen that protrude far from the flower. In some cases the pollinator burrows deep inside the bloom for nectar, while pollen from the long stamen is deposited unknowingly on the insect’s back. However, below we see a Green Sweat Bee who seems to be more interested in pollen than nectar – he dangles directly from the flower’s long stamen, and is covered in fluffy Salvia pollen. Many flies have also been using S. coccinea flowers to sun themselves, similar to the one pictured below.
Other critters have shown interest in various annuals planted at HMR. Melampodium ‘Showstar’ has been a popular choice for native bees, while Cosmos ‘Double Click’ and Marigold (Tagetes) ‘Bambino’ seem to be attracting an odd variety of caterpillars so far this summer. I’ll be keeping an eye on those and other flowers with the hopes that a wide variety of pollinators will enjoy the gifts they have to offer.
It’s been very exciting to observe all the insects on our annuals so far this summer. I look forward to sharing more with you all soon!