Monday, August 10, 2009

The Great Sunflower Project - My 1st report

I was very excited to participate in the Great Sunflower Project when I first heard about it, and as I mentioned on this blog, eagerly signed up the minute I learned about it. I planted my sunflowers, fully confident that they'd grow because growing sunflowers in Florida takes about as much skill as growing weeds.

And then they didn't grow.

After all that rain I assume the seeds or roots just got waterlogged and the tiny seedlings never grew after they sprouted.

But after several weeks in a post-flood stasis, they picked up again and recently bloomed. Granted I only have three of them and only 1 has fully opened. And they're stunted and small and far from the Mammoth sunflowers I've grown before. But they're alive and they're attracting bees!

I was quite excited to sign in to the site and actually enter in some bee information, but then it asked for the type of bee and I had to select "I don't know" from the drop-down menu. The options were bumble bee, osmia, honey bee, carpenter bee, green bee and I don't know. I am far from an insect expert and can only assume this little guy is indeed a bee. I can recognize a big furry bumblebee, but when they're not obvious I'm not entirely sure about bees, wasps and bee-mimicking flies.

Any thoughts on this little guy? His head is covered in pollen so I assume he's a bee. He's got a striped body, so that gives off a bee vibe. His wings are folded on his back. Again, a bee trait. Could he be a carpenter bee maybe? He was pretty small, but definitely felt bee-like to me.

So even though my summer garden has been a failure - again - at least I'm somewhat able to participate in the Great Sunflower Project, which was one of my big summer gardening goals.


Darla said...

We are participating in this project too. I have 5 sunflowers open, they are small like yours. With all of the coneflowers none of the bees go to the sunflowers....I guess I should record that ?

donna said...

Like you, I only know the bumblebee. Maybe the bee in your photo is a carpenter bee because it sort of looks like a big old carpenter ant. How's that for rock solid bee identification information? Hooray for your sunflowers surviving all the rain you've had.

Erin said...

Congrats on the sunflowers! I didn't plant my mammoths this year, but did do a bunch of 2 foot tall ones, they looked kind of scraggly and didn't last as long as the mammoths do. I will definitely do the big ones next year!

Daphne said...

LOL I posted about the same thing today. It was my first opened flower. It is not a carpenter bee. They are much like bumble bees but less yellow and less fuzzy. Other than that I have no clue. I can recognize green metallic bees because they are green and shiny. The name says it all. I actually had two kinds of green metallic bees in my garden last year but this year is a bad bee year. I haven't seen them. I also had no bees in my 15 minutes. I should have done 30 minutes because I saw one on it at 22 minutes. Sigh. It seems so much like a failure, but I know that not having bees is good info too.

hidinginmygarden said...

Your sunflowers are gorgeous! Thanks for posting.

Kelly said...

Not a carpenter, or a bumble, or a honey. Does that help? 8) One would think they would send some type of bee identifying literature. Hmm....good luck with that!

Brandi Parshley said...

What a cool project! They have a guide right on the site you linked that identifies the different types of bees you're looking for. After looking through all that I can't get a definite answer! I would say it's a carpenter bee or a honeybee. Maybe you could use googleimages to get a few more pictures for reference. Good luck with your project!

Alison said...

That's a halictid bee - not one of the options! Good luck with the project.

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