Saturday, October 16, 2010

Last Flowers of the Season

This was my last big hurrah of flower gardening for the year. I had let this bet turn into quite the mess, and I really like having a nice tidy garden up where the neighbors see most of the yard, so towards the end of September when I found myself stuck at home with a slightly sick child, I raided a local nursery for instant gratification plants.

I went with ye olde Autumn Joy sedums, New England aster (or something similar), some black-eyed Susans, and something in the mint family with purple flower that the bees were rioting over. Hyssop, maybe?

The bees and wasps were seriously nuts about that flower. They were actively fighting each other over it, which I have never seen before. But I didn't really pay attention until one of the bees came zipping over to the wagon and stung Gabe, unprovoked. I didn't get a look at what type of bee it was, but it left the stinger behind, so it was likely a honeybee. Such strange behavior!

Gabe was such a trooper. He yelled "Ow!" a few times and then looked at his arm with an expression of "WTF?" The nice woman running the shop, bless her, didn't have any ice, so she gave him a popsicle instead. It didn't last long as an ice-pack before Gabe just HAD to eat it, but boy did it make him happy!

That was his first bee sting. Hooray, no sign of allergy! And not even a tear shed!

The nice lady also enthusiastically waded into the bees to retrieve the plant for me, because, being as nuts as I am, I wanted the flower that attracts so many pollinators at this late time of year. And the bed by the mailbox is a good place for bees, since it doesn't get a lot of foot traffic.

I had to back off a few times when getting them into the ground, because of the bees. They must have felt Winter coming on.

Here is Gabe, upset with me for walking around without my shoes.

A row of two plants alternated is really not my style, but I was craving something extra-orderly after the mess I let this bed become. But at least I wasn't tempted to buy annuals. Please shoot me if I ever waste a penny on a chrysanthemum. Here's hoping that the road salt doesn't do all of these in over the winter. If half of what I planted comes back next year, I'll consider it a success. This is a very tough spot to grow things.

It's mid-October now. How did that happen? The flowers are mostly done for the year, and the few bees I've seen about have been very, very sluggish. It has been cold and wet. Some of the trees are looking bare. My ridiculous saffron crocuses are popping up, and one of them has even bloomed. That little flower is playing games with my sense of time! I plugged some daffodils into the front beds, and that's about it for me and gardening this season. Now I get to hibernate.


Karen said...

Gabe is a trooper, wow, to be stung and just say 'Ow'...he's tougher than I am. I think the popsicle icepack was a great idea instant relief and tasty, too.

The mailbox flower garden area looks great, Happy Hibernation!

Michelle said...

Thanks Karen! Yeah, the little guy amazes me.

Bluestem said...

I agree with Gabe. Popsicles are much more effective when applied internally.

So where is the picture of this great pollinator attracting plant?

UrsulaV said...

Late to the game, but yes, that looks like anise hyssop, probably "Blue Fortune" or "Black Adder." Absolutely marvelous plants, I had turned into a collector of the genus, and the pollinators go crazy for them.

Kris said...

I have many bees of all kinds this late this year too. The annuals have not succumbed to a couple of slight frosts (even 2 freezes) and the perennials are still in bloom (lavender, catmint, horsemint, asters, pineapple sage, etc.). It's like it's still September - not almost November. What a weird weather year. Enjoy your plants (and the bee traffic). :-D The bed looks good!!