The Most Visited

After the early morning gardening chores are finished and a cool down has occurred inside the climate controlled house with refreshing beverage for bodily hydration and a bit of computer activity, it is time for a little quiet contemplation…

…Very little, for the view from the lazyboy in the addition is of the garden, and she sings a siren song to me every single day of the year but especially in summer when flowers and friends call us out to join them in playtime.

One spot above the rest is the swingingest, jive talkingest buzzfest around.

In the fullest of hot, baking sunshine the downward sloping shed bed plays host to more pollinating visitors than any other.

The draw is the steely blue Eryngiums, whose numbers of self sowns has swelled to hoardlike proportions.

Like London Heathrow, there are more landings and take offs here than anyplace else in the world Fairegarden, (well, it’s my world). The buzzing is just below a roar. Stepping into the bed for photographic attempts could be dangerous, for hornets are amongst the gentle bees and wasps. The fifty foot long green wall of Pyracantha just to the left of the shed was once being trimmed by one blissfully unaware of the basketball sized paper nest hidden within the thorny branches. It didn’t take long to realize what had happened as sharp pain shot through my ungloved hands, lucky for long sleeves! The electric trimmer was dropped, still running as we ran for the open door of the shed and closed it in record time. Out the window could be seen the hornets angrily attacking the machine. The sound of them flying kamikaze style against the shed door with countless thuds was something that will never be forgotten. But maybe it has been forgotten somewhat, for we were right there amongst the same insects, snapping hundreds of captures. All the flyboys and girls were too busy collecting nectar to bother with me, thank goodness. Still, there was no dawdling as a respectful distance was kept and the zoom feature used on the camera.

Besides the E. alpinums, E. yuccifolium has been added to the popular area. Seed starting has produced a few babies, but one blooming of the two larger nursery bought plants is luring guests already. How it is wished that there were as many butterflies as buzzers here, but even one Blue Hairstreak sends thrills of pleasure throughout our cardio system.

Another hot spot is the Mondarda plantings in the revamped heather bed. Most of these were planted last fall as small starts and have grown to maturity in one season with ample winter rains. The lack of moisture that is plaguing us at the moment has not seemed to bother these moisture lovers, yet.

The coneflowers are very popular as well. Even the fancier, named cultivars, like this Echinacea ‘Harvest Moon’ attract plenty of admirers.

All of the garden beds here have offerings to attract the winged ones. In the white/yellow bed resides the Veronica collection. Yes, I am aware that some are neither white nor yellow of this fine genus, but the color coding of beds here is merely a suggestion, not cast in hypertufa. This is V. ‘Red Fox’.

My favorite Veronica is V. ‘Sunny Border Blue’. This was brought here in the move from Texas in 2000 as part of the Noak’s Ark attempt to bring the entire garden with us. It has been divided too many times to count and been grown in every part of the yard, front and back. It seems to grow anywhere, but is happy in the well drained sunshine of the white/yellow.

Turning the camera around to show what not to wear whilst out and about the garden on a warm, sunshiney summer day, it is with hesitation that we show the site of another popular pastime with the insect population. For the daring like to investigate the mountain pass of moist shade that lies just below the enticing white ruffle. Then it is time for us to go back inside to the climate controlled addition and remove the risk takers, gently showing them the door.


To see the beginnings of the Eryngium planting in the shed bed click here-Eryngium, one of our earliest postings.


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25 Responses to The Most Visited

  1. gardeningasylum says:

    Good morning Frances! I do agree, the buzz of the bees seems to add that special something to a walk around the sunny garden. Right now, they are in love with lambs ear blooms, even and especially the floppers, so it’s a task for the brave. Thanks for reminding me to dress for the battle:)

    Hi Cyndy, thanks for visiting so regularly, I do appreciate you! Our Lamb’s Ear is popular as well, but well past prime bee dining. The bees like those freshly opened blooms best, connoisseurs they are. I have had bees fly up my skirt and sting those opalescent thighs, ants in my pants, literally and now the most daring of all going where fools rush in! HA πŸ™‚

  2. Les says:

    Was this your photographic ode to last week’s National Pollinator Week? If so, you could not have done better. Every time I see Eryngium I want to touch it, Echinacea has the same effect on me. Have a great week.

    Thanks Les, no but it is a good idea. Every week is pollinator week here. Don’t touch the Eryngiums in the shed bed, you will get a sting by a hidden visitor! πŸ™‚

  3. Not so much bees as wasps in my garden…..they love to find us just as we sit down to eat after filling themselves on honeysuckle nectar.
    Nice tan by the way.

    Hi Heather, thanks, that’s what a week at the beach will do for you, even with sunscreen, although that skin is so horrible I wish there was a filter of some kind on the camera lens. Dang good macro! HA We have a wasp mud creation under the deck. It looks like Pan’s pipes and I haven’t the stomach to get rid of it, although The Financier would if he were told about it. For now, it is our little secret. πŸ™‚

  4. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    Good morning Frances. You crack me up. White is always the most enticing of the colors to wear into the garden. Mosquitoes think it is skin. They come right after it. Love all that sea holly. I can’t get it to grow. Maybe I don’t have a place with good enough drainage with enough sun. I love the sculptural look of it. Obviously the bugs love it. Have a great week.

    Hi Lisa, thanks, glad you get the jokes. I wondered if white was an attraction, it does seem to make a difference to them. I believe sun (and drainage) is key for the eryngium, even then it flops without some sort of staking. You too enjoy this summer beginning. πŸ™‚

  5. You have so many wonderful plants for the pollinators.

    I tried rattlesnake master from seed, but after the torential winter rains, have seen no sign. I fell in love with the plant at the US Botanic Garden last year.

    The buzz here is the hypericum ‘Sun Pat’. The bees work themselves into an fast-motion hyper frenzy.

    Ah…the cleavage dive! One day last week, forgetting that I was standing out in the open at the meadow top looking down into the garden, I was reaching and bending and jumping to try to get a bee out of my bosom…and our new neighbors were walking down the road! LOL

    Hi Cameron, thanks. The E. yuccafolium needs a chill periodd to germinate, just like the alpinums. I believe that is why it took so long for them to show up in this bed. Don’t give up and keep an eye out next spring for the grass like leaves of it. The rain might have washed it to another spot though. Our Hypericum frondosum was moved to more sun and is pouting. How funny, love the term cleavage dive! We recently had ants in our pants and it was all we could do to get to a secluded spot to remove them, the ants and the pants! HA πŸ™‚

  6. Wendy says:

    Francis, your photos are breathtaking and one of my most enjoyable views of my day! What size lens are you using for the macros? Keep on girl, just love it…

    Hi Wendy, thanks so much. I am just a point and shoot girl on auto, it is all I can do to macro and zoom. The camera used for the macros is the Canon A720 IS. The camera does all the heavy lifting, I just listen for the lens adjustment and click. πŸ™‚

  7. I love your blue Eryngiums

    Thanks Sunny. πŸ™‚

  8. Phillip says:

    Fantastic photos. The Eryngiums are great. I need to try growing those.

    Thanks Phillip. They will need a sunny spot. Good luck with them! πŸ™‚

  9. Love the closing shot of the camellia πŸ˜‰

    Thanks Diana! HA πŸ™‚

  10. I love eryngiums but they;re not bee magnets in my yard. The obedient plant is that for me, though I’m glad I have bees on many plants, in general. Um, so you have bees down your blouse, not our bonnet? Um, that sounds… um… harrowing!

    Maybe you need some alpinums, or do you have them already? So far they have many more flowers that the yuccas here, but that might be because they have finally seeded about enough to have the mass planting. I am hoping for the same to happen with the yuccas, seeds courtesy of your swap, thanks, Monica! I loved the way Cameron put it, cleavage dive! HA πŸ™‚

  11. Joanne says:

    Hi Frances, It was time I got back to blogging friends and where better to start than Fairegarden.

    I had been thinking to post that if there was considered a shortage of bees again this year it was because they are all buzzing happily in my garden, but then I see they are also very busy in your garden too. Clearly we are doing our bit on Bee preservbation but I just couldn’t face keeping a bee hive, I am a little frightened of large numbers.

    Most amusing to hear your narrow escape from a Hornets nest even the odd one sends me ducking for cover.

    As to the last photo well sadly I found to my cost that even a higher necked shirt can allow the dreaded mosquito to find a juicey meal. I suffer the consequences still today from yesterdays bite whilst helping Rachel in her garden. We do seem to be getting some particularly large varieties these last few years with a very nasty bite.

    Hi Joanne, so nice to see you here. I am glad you have more than your share of buzzers as well. The mosquitoes can be very clever in finding flesh, I am sorry to hear about your bite.

  12. You might have been “waving the white flag” Frances with that blouse when you were taking the photos around the sea holly but it sure is a magnet for those little critters lol.

    Great photos – you were brave – hornets are scary. πŸ™‚ Rosie

    Thanks, it seems that way, Rosie! I had no idea that white was a no no in the garden, I thought it helped keep one cool, reflecting heat rather than absorbing it like black does. There was a cushion of space between me and the hornets, thank goodness they were busy. Most insects will attack when their nest is threatened, but not like those striped fighters.

  13. sequoiagardens says:

    Glorious photographs – and a decolletagelicious coda! πŸ˜‰

    Thanks Jack, cool word! πŸ™‚

  14. James A-S says:

    Hello Frances. I have been most remiss in my blog visiting recently: too much stuff going on out there. It has calmed down a tiny bit for now so what better thing to see than your Eryngiums and assorted winged insects.
    Loved the Violas as well.
    The cleavage was, err, an unexpected extra!

    Hi James, so nice to see you, thanks for taking time to visit. Sorry you missed the chance to vote for your favorite viola, maybe next year. I was wondering how the decolletage coda would be received, extra can be considered good, I suppose. πŸ™‚

  15. Pam/Digging says:

    That hornet story gives me the willies. But I do love that steely blue Eryngium and might be willing to risk hornets to have it in my garden.

    Hi Pam, so nice to see you. The eryngium should grow well for you, it seems to love the heat, don’t know if it requires cold winters, zone 5-9. I think the hornets were already here before we even bought the property. The tree trimmers hired to clear the hill in 1996 had to stop working to take a guy to the hospital due to so many stings. There were old rotting apple and peach trees filled with buzzers that were unseen in the thick growth up there. They never came back to finish the job either, and Chickenpoet had already given them the check I had left to pay them when the job was done. The solution was the backhoe to clear it when the excavation was dug for the foundation of the addition. The insects moved to the pyracanthas which are now kept trimmed. There are still old fruit trees on the lot behind us, they may live in there as well. Why don’t I write a novel in response to your comment? LOL πŸ™‚

  16. Patsi says:

    Wow, lots of bees !
    Interesting plant Eryngiums,sure do have a large selection.
    Frances…guessing you spent many vacations in the UK… As soon as I saw the word “whilst” kinda gave me a clue. πŸ™‚

    Thanks Patsi. I wish I had spent many vacation in the UK, have only ever been once, this May. I do read a lot of British blogs, books and magazines, however. It is all I can do to refrain from certain spellings like favour and colour. HA πŸ™‚

  17. Tatyana says:

    What a buzzing post! Those creatures sure love your garden, Frances! Amazing pictures, especially that one where the three creatures are attacking a monarda flower! Nice ruffle, too!

    Thanks Tatyana. The big carpenter bees are such hard workers, they really give that pollinating business their all. πŸ™‚

  18. Your garden is certainly the place to be if you are an insect. I can imagine how much pleasure you get from observing their antics….especially from the comfort of your air-conditioned house πŸ˜‰

    Hi Noelle, thanks. I do love looking at the garden from inside, but can hardly stay there when there is so much going on outside. I want to be a part of it! πŸ™‚

  19. Benjamin says:

    Ummm, geee, uhhhh. Don’t expect me to be taking pics of my hairy, tanned, sweaty chest and posting them on my blog. Too risque. I wish my echinops would be as tall and full as last year, but last year the grashoppers devoured them, especially, and most are dead or 1-2′ tall only and hidden by the coneflowers. But it’s true, the insects adore those thistles! Right up there next to milkweed and joe-pye weed.

    Well that is a huge disappointment, Benjamin. I was playing the game I’ll show you mine if you show me yours! HA I wish Echinops would grow here at all, purchased plants die within days and seeds never germinate. My son Brokenbeat grows it well in North Carolina, so I am not sure what is wrong here. Grasshoppers are a huge problem here as well. Ah, the Joe Pye, it is a magnet for all the buggies. πŸ™‚

  20. Lola says:

    Your gardens are lovely as always. You really have a lot of pollinators. Not very many here, reason why I can’t grow even squash. Spraying for mosquitoes has eliminated just about all.
    The price we “city” gardeners pay.

    Thanks Lola. We have plenty of bugs, but we cannot grow decent squash here either, I buy it at the farmers market instead. The spraying is a very high price, but I know mosquitoes are also dangerous.

  21. Catherine says:

    Eryingiums have been on my wishlist for awhile, for some reason they are hard to find around here. Veronica is always popular with the bees here too.
    I think I’m getting a little too brave with the bees now, I just work right in the midst of them doing their work and have been lucky not to have been stung, knock on wood πŸ™‚ The yellow jackets are just starting to appear around here, they always seem to be worst around birdbaths and the pond though.

    Hi Catherine, nice to see you and thanks for visiting. We rarely see Eryngiums for sale, they must be difficult to keep alive in pots. I mail ordered my original plants. I truly believe in the old saw, don’t bother them and they won’t bother you about the stingers. Yellow jackets are quite scary though. Their idea of *bothing* may be different than ours.

  22. commonweeder says:

    I am actually glad to see you have lots of bugs in your garden. As visitors walked around the Rose Walk on Sunday many of them noted the scarcity of bugs, including honeybees. One friend was worried about what the lack of bugs means – and I remember that Doug Tallamy, in his book Bringing Nature Home, talks about the need for MORE bugs to help keep nature in balance.

    Thanks Pat. A lack of bugs, or even worse, birdsong is a tragedy. We are part of a system that needs all involved to be present to work properly. We learned it in basic biology.

  23. Your garden is definitely abuzz. It’s amazing how you’ve captured more than one insect at a time on a flower! But, I must admit, the story of the hornets was very scary. I just hate getting stung.

    Hi Helen, thanks. It was pure luck to have so many bees on the monarda. As for the Eryngium, the camera would not cooperate with all the tiny buzzers in the air, they are invisible but believe me, the air was thick with them. Getting stung is a dreadful experience! πŸ™‚

  24. Teresa O says:

    Hello Frances…Your garden is a regular terminal of busy. It’s such a relief to see bees and their cousins working so diligently. As for dry…let me send some of the numerous rains we’ve had, here in nw Ohio, over the last month.

    Have a wonderful day!

    Hi Teresa, thanks. The bees are such hard workers, it is amazing the effort the put forth over the course of a day as they go from flower to flower. I am glad we have many of both the insects and the flowers. Oh how we need rain, I would gladly take some of your leftovers.

  25. I wonder whether some colours are more visible to bees and certain insects. Blues and mauves always seem to attract though not exclusively.

    I wonder too, Rob. They do love the blues, I wonder if it is flower form or color or something else entirely that attracts them. And white blouses. πŸ™‚

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