My patch of Echinops 'Blue Glow' (aka "Globe Thistle") is in bloom right now: wonderful, spiky, too crowded, too big.

The one plant I had 5 or 6 years ago has been let to reseed almost at will, and now it's taken over this area. I had really intended to thin it out this year, but when blooming time comes around I'm glad I didn't.


The bees as well are glad I didn't. If you're a bee watcher like I am, this is one of the best plants at which to get a good view, as these spheres each contain dozens of tiny blooms -- and as I've pointed out before, the tiny flowers win when it comes to bee attraction.

I'm no bee expert, but I group these visitors into three rough groups: the honeybees, bumbles, and tiny bees.

I'm not sure if there are more than one type of "honeybee" that visits my garden, but it seems like it.

As for the tiny bees, well, they're difficult to photograph. There are probably four or more different types, only one or two that I picture here:

Then the bumbles -- this is probably just two different types: true bumble bees, and carpenter bees. Although it seems like I only photographed bumbles today (carpenter bees are less fuzzy).

My older neighbor whose main gardening activity is growing tomatoes and cucumbers in his very limited sunny spots -- he always asks me where all of the bees are. I've been giving him Agastache foeniculum plants for the last couple of years, and now he understands. Maybe I'll give him a couple of globe thistles this fall.

I certainly have enough of them to share.

If you haven't seen this older post of mine, please take a look. It contains some of my best bee photos and a link to a great page about native bees.

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Lisa  – (July 28, 2013 at 8:13 AM)  

Bees are so vital in the garden! And anyone hoping to get a good yield from their vegetable patch needs to include flowers for the bees. Good for you for gently encouraging your neighbor!

Alan  – (July 28, 2013 at 7:26 PM)  

Ironically, today was the first bad "bee" experience I've ever had: yellow jacket attack. Just 4 stings or so, but still scary.

Lisa  – (July 28, 2013 at 8:06 PM)  

Yellow jackets are my nemesis. I once stepped into a nest in the ground while mowing the grass and got stung about 30 or 40 times in the foot and ankle. Not fun. I had no feeling in my leg from the knee down for over a week. They are fierce little buggers.

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