Trumpet Vine Seed Pods

Today I noticed that our Trumpet vine (Campsis radicans) had begun producing seed pods.

Trumpet vine seed pods

Trumpet vine seed pods

I never expected Trumpet vine seed pods to look like beans.

Otherwise, they don’t look much like legumes.

Trumpet vine in flower

Trumpet vine in flower

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Overly Ambitious?

During the winter, we keep our bird feeders filled with black oil sunflower seeds. The birds, of course, are not particularly neat at mealtime, scattering seeds off the platform feeder and out of the other feeders, for which service the ground feeding birds really ought to show some gratitude. And while the ground feeders are very busy, very hungry, and seem to be very thorough, there are always seeds uneaten. In the spring and summer sunflower seedlings appear among the sedges and around the Buddha.

We nearly always use the same brand of black oil sunflower seeds, so one might assume that the plants that sprout would be pretty much identical every year. But they’re not. Some years we get huge sunflower plants, as tall as the feeder standards and nearly as dense as grass, adorned with giant flowers. Other years the plants might be shorter, or the flowers might be smaller.

This year the plants are oddly short, stunted, some of them puny. And the flowers are generally sparse and small. A few have been somewhat lemon colored rather than the usual bright yellow of the sun.

And then, there’s this one.

Overly Ambitious Sunflower

Overly Ambitious Sunflower

This plant is short, but it’s clearly trying to get as much bloom into the world as possible. Right now the flower head at the top of the plant is actually made up of three individual flowers. And around the stalk are four more individual flowers. And lower on the stalk are more buds.

Overly Ambitious Sunflower

Overly Ambitious Sunflower

Well, there’s not really anything significant here. I just thought I should commemorate this sunflower’s extraordinary efforts. I’m sure the birds will be pleased when the seeds start forming.

Visitors to the Yard

Today’s visitor: Red Milkweed Beetle (Tetraopes tetrophthalmus) feeding on common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) in the back yard. Or should I say “visitors”? I only saw one, but there must be more.

Red Milkweed Beetle (Tetraopes tetrophthalmus)

Red Milkweed Beetle (Tetraopes tetrophthalmus) on common milkweed flower

Red Milkweed Beetle (Tetraopes tetrophthalmus)

Red Milkweed Beetle (Tetraopes tetrophthalmus) on common milkweed leaf