Blue globe thistle and bees

Three or four years ago I planted a single blue globe thistle (Echinops banaticus 'Blue Glow'). It was a beautiful plant that produced several spiky blooms which the bees loved. As is my tendency, I let the plant go to seed and did not remove it in the fall -- I like to leave seed heads over the winter for the birds and to see if I can get any volunteer plants the next year.

If you're not familiar with thistles and thistle-like plants, which I wasn't, let me tell you what I learned: they easily reseed. Very easily. I'm not yet to the point of calling them a nuisance, but I've pulled many seedlings from this area over the past couple of years.


Even so, this has become a pretty large planting:

That's fine by me though, because I really enjoy having the bees visit, big and small. Since I'm pressed for time this morning, I'm just going to show you the photos, and keep quiet. Maybe a caption or two. While viewing these, you have to picture dozens of bumblebees and even more tiny oh-so-hard-to-photograph bees zipping around frantically. It's cool if you like bees.

Just starting to open.

I love bumble wings!

Lots of pollen on this little bee.

They're buzzing all over, but this was a lucky capture.

I tried for a long time to get a clear photo of the little green bees...

...I failed.

The bumbles were moving fast too, but they're large enough to focus on.

Interestingly, I didn't see any honeybees on these plants. I don't know if I remember seeing any previous years either. There must be something about these blooms they don't like. I'll have to pay more attention I think.

Still, I'm happy to see all of this bee activity here. Gotta love the blue globe thistle!


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anne  – (July 21, 2011 at 9:15 AM)  

I smiled when I saw your post today - when I walked out my front door this morning the first flower I saw was a globe thistle with bees all over it!

Gerhard Bock (Succulents and More)  – (July 21, 2011 at 10:26 AM)  

These are beautiful! Echinops is one of those elusive plants for me. You can't buy them locally, and the mail-order plant I got a few years ago died without reseeding. I guess it's too hot and dry here for echinops (they're typically rated zone 8). You have too many, I have too few :-)

:: Bamboo and More ::

Pauline  – (July 21, 2011 at 12:53 PM)  

Wow, all that from one plant, lucky you !! Our bees are enjoying our echinops at the moment, maybe I ought to let mine go to seed then I could have a drift like you !!

Barbie  – (July 28, 2011 at 2:55 PM)  

I so love your photos :-) really spectacular.

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