Saturday, April 04, 2009

Bees and Black Oil - but no X-Files

It's maximum poppy time here in Central Texas, and we have a yard full of them. Here they are surrounding one of the birdbaths, and they just as thick as this in some of the pathways and people areas (the yard is geared more toward birds, bees and butterflies than people anyway). The birdbath is made from a chip/dip serving tray and the bottom of an old barstool.
Here's a bee packing a sweet load of something above. Below is one of a crop of surprise sunflowers that sprouted up this year. We're pretty sure they are Black Oil Sunflowers planted by birds from the birdseed mixture. If you want to make birds really happy (especially cardinals) get the seed with a lot of black oil sunflower seeds. I adore sunflowers, they are my favorite flower. These are just a couple of feet tall with one pretty big flower, and it's the first time we've had them. In a month or so we will get our regular crop of the type that grow 10-12 feet high and are covered in small flowers. I don't know what they're called, I call them Texas Sunflowers but that's not the right name.

Below is a thick collection of butterfly eggs. We don't know for sure what kind - MrB insists that they are Monarchs, and we do get lots of Monarch activity here because Austin is on their migration route toward Mexico. Well... we'll see what these eggs produce...

click to enlargeHere's the eastward view of things as they look now (above) and things will just get thicker and taller through the early summer. For comparison, here's the same view as it looked this past January. We went to Costco and got some solar lights to add some nighttime illumination - at least now some of the sharp-pointiest plants are lit up.


Jeff said...

I am getting those wonderful unplanned surprise sunflowers from the bird feeders for the first time here in Santa Ana California also. The flowers seem much smaller than I would have expected as an original source flower for the feed seed but they sure are nice looking and popping up all over the yard and beds. Thanks for sharing you Oasis with the rest of the world.

Nancy said...

Hi, I love your blog! I searched google for "growing poppies in central texas" and that's how I found my way here. Your poppies look incredible and I love the fun birdbath. :-)
I just planted poppy seeds for the first time, but I'm worried that I may have planted them a little too early.

As for the picture with the yellow specks on the plant. I'm pretty sure those are aphids. I have butterfly weed popping up all over my yard and they are covered with these same guys. I've taken a few off and they climb all over my fingers in a really cute fashion so I haven't taken it upon myself to do anything about them. I have, however found more praying mantis in my yard than ever before and I couldn't be happier ( these bugs have such character) and I think they are making a meal of all my fancy aphids.
Anyway, keep up the great work. I love it all!
Thanks, Nancy

Blueberry said...

Welcome, Nancy! These pics are from last year but we had a huge poppy crop again this year.