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.

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A Little Green Bee

Here’s another bit of neighborhood wildlife — our sunflowers have begun to open, and they’ve been noticed.

Little Green Bee

Little Green Bee

If you click on the picture to enlarge it and look closely you’ll see a little metallic green bee. Apparently this one is a species of Agapostemon (a genus of sweat bees), possibly Agapostemon sericeus.

Budding Sunflowers

Sunflower in bud

Sunflower in bud

Sunflowers are in bud on the patio, volunteers growing from seed sowed by birds who ate messily all winter.

The ground feeding birds didn’t eat everything that fell from the feeders, and now sunflowers fill the small garden plot below, promising to become bird feeders themselves by the end of summer.

Sunflowers and bird feeders

Sunflowers under their source