Sunflower weather

Now that the heat has hit, I can barely keep up with the flowers. This sunflower bloomed a few days ago, and today already the flowerhead is busy making seeds. The bees have done their work.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Traditional varieties of sunflowers are great bee flowers. They give so generously of their pollen, that bees get covered with it, going round and round collecting all that delicious (to bees) gold. The little pollen-covered bee is Halictus ligatus, which I like to call “saddlebag bee”. They have a rare talent for finding the flowers with the most pollen and filling up the pollen baskets on theirs legs so much they stick out like little saddlebags. The green bee is my garden stalwart, Agapostemon. They show up like flying emeralds all summer long.

As for what kind of sunflower this is, I think it’s descended from the black oil sunflower seeds that I feed the birds. Seeds get into the compost, I spread the compost, and in the sunny spots, sunflowers volunteer, year after year. My kind of flower.