The Cornflower is a very old fashioned plant — an annual flower, actually. I had some last summer and they self-sowed, like all good open-pollinated plants will. The new plants, from the old genus “Centaurea” came up about 36 inches tall! and they are very strong and sturdy. I took a series of pictures yesterday and the idea came to me that we might really help the bee population we are all so worried about in the US right now — the colony collapse disorder. There are many theories about why the bees might be dying off.
What I do know, is that the bees need food! They have to do a lot of work. Imagine how tired they get working as hard as they do?
Here is my simple sunny solution, and even kids could get involved. Planting cornflowers is easy! The seed package costs very little and you can save your seeds, too. Give some to friends!
What if, across the world, or even the US we had little bee gardens!
If you could see the number of bees all over these cornflowers dancing in the sun and gathering pollen — ?
You’d know you were making a good contribution!
Let me show you my pictures from yesterday…
Here is the flower of the classic “Bachelor Button” or “Cornflower” or “Cyanus Centaurea” — a beautiful blue fllwer and very easy to grow. You can even do them in a large pot on your patio? I have done that before.
The blue makes an incredible addition to the garden.
Here the bee is coming in for a landing! Wait til you see the pollen!
Here the bee is gathering food! See the pollen on his back legs? That is what makes honey, which the bee needs to survive. In the old days, and especially classical gardeners in England — the farmer would consult with the bees before making decisions! Bee die off alerts all farmers to the problem. Nobody asked the bees.
Bees pollinate everything we eat as humans. They are so important, and we can’t lose them!
Seeing all the pollen on the bees legs made me know that the cornflowers were a good food source for them!
Yesterday I watched them tumble and tumble all over the cornflowers, almost fighting each other to land, but not really! There are enough flowers for everyone!
Back to the hive!
The honey and wax support the colony, and in turn the colony supports pollination of things that humans like to eat!
That little bee will be working all day, back and forth and back and forth!
This is how the flower looks when the bees have finished and the pollen is gone! It has closed in upon itself, and the seeds are forming inside! You can tell by how fat it is!
One of the flowers that is full of seeds!
As gardeners we would pluck that off?
We call that “deadheading” because we want more flowers — but? You can save that!
Inside that flower will be dozens of seeds!
You could share them with another gardener?
Teach somebody how to grow this very simple flower?
Help to feed a bee colony!
And have the prettiest bouquet ever!