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Bees and Sunflower

Bees and Sunflower

I've been planting as many bee attracting plants as I can. This year the garden included seven varieties of sage, as well as rosemary, lavender, calendula, anemone, cilantro, three types of thyme, two types of yarrow, borage, dill, alliums, etc.... Last month while the sunflowers were at their peak, I took some shots of the bees in action.


I planted several types of sunflowers, some unlabeled, in order to use up old seed, so don't know what this was that grew. It was a branching type about 7 to 8 feet tall that produced multiple flowers 3 to 5 inches across. The bees loved it.

I've got a couple types of crocuses to put in the ground this fall (including the sativus variety that produces saffron) and hope to include rudbeckia, hollyhocks, and poppies in the flower garden next spring. I'm on a quest to continue to increase the varieties of herbs in my collection so also plan to add more varieties of sage and others. And at some point I'd like to keep honeybees.

Bees and Sunflower

Update 03/31/2015: Four of these photos are now available as bee cards in my etsy shop!

Bees and Sunflower Bees and Sunflower Bees and Sunflower

bee (4), degree (24), flowers (48), garden (29), insect (31), sunflower (3)

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Spring 2014

blood peach blossom

I love springtime and the life that bursts forth, and it's especially exciting to experience the first spring in a new place. Things I didn't know were there have gloriously revealed themselves. New plantings and dormant wood begin to show vigor. Sleeping bulbs reincarnate, expressing such incredible beauty from a brown lump that was hidden away in darkness months before.

blood peach blossom

Indian blood peach blossoms foretell a bountiful summer crop.


These lilacs smelled lovely and have the prettiest color.


Tulips sure can make sexy photos.


Calendula is a plant I always save seeds from, as well as let spread themselves. These seeds were collected from my last house from plants grown from seeds acquired from the Mendocino Permaculture seed exchange. The petals of calendula flowers add color to salads and the flower heads have many medicinal uses.

star of bethlehem

This "star of bethlehem" was an impulse buy in a nursery this spring and made a perfect addition to the understory for our largest olive tree, an area of the front yard now dubbed "Little Bethlehem".


I planted these hyacinths in the late fall. Though a enthusiast of bulbs, this is a new one for me and I was surprised by how well they did along the front path.

columbine flower

Columbine that somehow survived under the apple tree while dormant and we did landscaping, digging things up, moving things around, and planting of a new understory and apple tree guild. I'm happy to see it there as I love the flowers.

sweet pomegranate flower

Flowers from the 'sweet pomegranate' tree that's been moved twice in the past year, first dug up and potted to be moved away. Though now it's back were it was before and with a trellis to snuggle up to on the warm south wall of the house, as well as a new 'Arianna pomegranate' friend. It has recovered beautifully and has dozens of blossoms.

Pincushion Flower

Scabiosa caucasica 'Fama Blue' "Pincushion Flower". Rick picked this one out at a nursery this winter, though we had no idea what it would look like, only that it was drought tolerant. Such interesting flowers and it seems to be doing well in the dry, hot front yard.

salsify flower

Salsify reseeds itself invasively in the front yard. I've experimented with eating the roots which are supposed to have an oyster-like flavor, and are tasty fried in butter and garlic. The chickens like it's greens. Though their latex sap stains everything and I prefer to keep this plant from propagating.

anemone flower

Anemone, another beautiful new flower for me this year. I'm trying them out in the front yard but may need to move them to an area that will receive more frequent irrigation.

three chicken eggs in grass

What is more iconic of springtime than eggs? Here's one from each of our three chickens, happy that the days have been lengthening.

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Blueberry Flowers

blueberry flower

We planted four "Southern Highbush" blueberry plants in January, and a couple have been flowering. We also planted over two dozen alpine strawberry plants around them as an understory, so we're looking forward to many berries of the future!

blueberry flower blueberry flower

blueberry (1), degree (24), flowers (48), food (12), garden (29), macro (11), plants (17)

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Spring 2013

bird wild garlic

Wild garlic (Allium triquetrum) flowers

wild garlic rosemary flowers

Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) flowers

daffodil arugula flower

Arugula (Eruca sativa) flower


Grape hyacinth (Muscari)

Boxelder Bug

Within the past few days, hundreds or thousands of these Boxelder Bugs (Boisea trivittata) have suddenly gathered in my backyard. I tried to get the chickens to eat them, but they turned up their beaks to the crunchy critters. Today we noticed the bugs are covering the south facing walls of our house with eggs.

Reading up on them, I'm not too worried about them messing up my garden since they are pretty specialized in their diets, preferring boxelder trees, though they could do damage to my apples, pears, or plums later on.

Boxelder Bug Boxelder Bug

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Vernal Equinox

Plum flowers Plum flowers Plum flowers

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Flowers (42)

Indian Blood Peach Flowers

Peach flowers

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Flowers (42)

Tobacco Story

pink flowering tobacco

Over about a year and a half this tobacco plant grew to be a monster of a thing. Giant leaves, bunches of pretty pink flowers, all of it intensely sticky. I couldn't maneuver in my garden around it without pieces of it sticking in my hair or on my arms. Though I read about what it would take to harvest and cure the leaves, having quit smoking over a decade ago, I didn't have much motivation for such a lengthy and complex process. A bit of dried leaf did get burned in a ceremonial way, an acknowledgment of abundance this harvest season between my Love and I, and honoring it as the sacred plant it is.

pink flowering tobacco pink flowering tobacco pink flowering tobacco pink flowering tobacco pink flowering tobacco pink flowering tobacco pink flowering tobacco pink flowering tobacco pink flowering tobacco pink flowering tobacco

The flowers dried into little seed vessels that, when turned upside-down, poured hundreds of tiny seeds out. After realizing that the piles of brown granuals on my worm box were not from terminates, but were in fact from the tobacco plant towering over it, I began collecting them. With minimal time spent and collecting at most maybe 5% of the one plant's seeds, I filled a pint container.

If the seeds cause volunteer tobacco plants to grow next year, I may harvest some of the leaves and try some curing. It could be fun to make a homemade cigar or some vanilla flavored pipe-tobacco....

pink flowering tobacco

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Summer Flowers

california poppy flowers california poppy flowers tiny white daisy flowers star jasmine flowers

I took these photos last year in my backyard but am only now getting around to posting them. The first two are the iconic California Poppy, the third are tiny flowers I don't remember (but know I took the photo with my reverse lens), the last photo is of star jasmine's interesting pinwheel shape.

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Succulent Flowers

succulent flowers succulent flowers succulent flowers succulent flowers

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Spring Garden Activity

bee on borage flower borage flower fly on borage flower bee on borage flower red bug on cactus insect on purple flower bee on purple flower bee on borage flower

These were taken with my Nikon D300 and a 50mm lens on backward (using a reverse ring) to get close. No electronics pass through to the old lens and focus is determined by distance.

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Sacred Datura (Datura wrightii)

sacred datura sacred datura sacred datura sacred datura sacred datura

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Baby Grasshopper

baby grasshopper

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Passion Flowers

passion flower vine passion flower vine passion flower passion flower vine passion flower vine

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Flowers (42)


nigella flowers nigella flower nigella flower

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Joshua Tree Flowers

Tiny things in the Joshua Tree desert taken with a 50mm lens on backward. A photographer camping next to me lent me the lens and reverse ring to try something new. I fell in love with the method, got my own reverse ring and fixed lens and am hooked on this new way of taking macros!

tiny purple flower tiny dried daisy tiny red flowers tiny purple flower joshua tree rock

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San Bernardino Flowers

flowers and sky

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Flowers (42)

Wilted Tulip

wilted tulip twisted tulip

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Flowers (42)

Passion Flower Pair

passion flowers

From the vine growing in my front yard.

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Flowers (42)

Sun Setting on the Lavender


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Flowers (42)



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Flowers in Potter Valley


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Flowers in My Backyard


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Brugmansia Blooms

brugmansia blooms brugmansia spiral

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Goat Rock Flowers

coast flower

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Mustard Flowers

mustard flower

flowers (48), potter-valley (65)

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Pear Blossom

pear blossom

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This is my new orchid. I bought it to replace one of the two that died last year. I think it is the same type as my one surviving orchid, which hasn't bloomed in a couple years.

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Flowers (42)

Green Bee

green bee

10/07 At a rest-stop along I-80, somewhere in Wyoming.

(The Westward series was taken while driving from Michigan to California in October. I'm going to post them three at a time, in no particular order and will try to mention if I remember what state it was taken in. The majority of these photos were snapped while driving 80 miles per hour on interstate 80 so will be blurry, have dirt specks or water droplets from the day it rained, or have a slightly-tinted-car-window look. Don't worry, I rarely shoot while at the wheel, so most likely, they were taken while Donovan was driving, after I had done my share for the day.)

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pink lilly 26 Things III item "Exotic".

26 Things III (26), California Summer 2004 (45), Flowers (42)


hole On a fotostroll with fotologger vimanaboy. At the beach.

26 Things III item "Underground".

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under a blue sky

Flowers (42), Paradise (29)



Flowers (42)

Erythronium Americanum (Yellow Trout Lily)

yellow trout lily

Flowers (42)

First May Flower

first flower spring This might be from a bulb I planted in the fall or it might have already been here. Bulbs are the epitome of spring, the dormant life below the earth, the cycles of death and rebirth. They make me think of the story of Persephone and Hades. Bulbs are a symbol of patience and are the opposite of instant gratification. They show me how I can plant something, hiding it away, and then forget about it, only to be reminded months later by their little green shoots breaking through the dirt. Bulbs make me feel happy and alive.

Flowers (42)

Tulip Tree Flower

Flower 26 Things item: close up

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Flowers (42)


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Flowers (42)

Sun Bug

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California Poppies

flowers (48)

Flowers (42)

Flowering Tree

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Flowers (42)


I don't know what kind of flower this is, but I found it growing in Armstrong Redwoods Forest in February.

flowers (48)

Flowers (42)

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Creative Commons License Arianna Helen | | designed by ulaluma | hosted green green leaf