This has been a season of firsts. I love to try new things and this year I’ve experimented with new styles of pollinator housing, three new types of comb honey supers, new honey bee feeders, new watering methods, and many new bee plants. Of all the bee plants on my list, I was most excited about Autumn Joy sedum.
Last winter as I collected the data for the Plant Lists, I was continually amazed at how many folks listed Autumn Joy as one of their top bee attractors. I had never even heard of it but quickly went out and purchased six plants and then further divided them until I had a bunch. All summer I had to protect them from my husband’s projects, which included flying pieces of wood, ballooning stretches of tarp, air-borne shingles, tipped ladders, and dropped tools. Somehow, the plants (and my husband) survived the summer and now as fall approaches, a few of the Autumn Joys are beginning to bloom.
The first bee arrived with the first blossoms (Yay, it’s working!). Unlike the sunflowers, the Autumn Joy are down near the ground where I can actually photograph them. Also unlike sunflowers, they come without a dark center—there’s nothing like a brown bee on a brown background for an impossible portrait.
My first Autumn Joy visitor was a small carpenter bee, Ceratina. These little sprites give me anxiety disorder—they are super small and fast and seem to quiver in the air, vibrating as they approach a flower. They look like they need to inhale deeply. In fact, they make me so nervous I find myself holding my breath as I watch them. I suppose all the extraneous movement protects them from being eaten, but it sure makes them hard to photograph. Luckily, the Autumn Joy held this one’s interest long enough for me to get a shot.