Searching for the Source of Sweetness

I wore down a path between gardens today as I traipsed from one to the next and back again. But if air space is anything like lawn space, then those who visit the garden via flight have created their own well-worn passageways as they also search.

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My mission was to see the hummingbird again. But, this little guy, no longer than a half inch, stood atop a false dragonhead yet to bloom and waited to be noticed.

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He even took the time to scrub his face as I watched.

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Continuing my wander, I stopped by the daylilies and made a discovery. We’ve lived in this house for more than two decades and I never realized until today that we have some double daylilies. The previous owners had green thumbs and we’ve benefited from the fruits of their labor. But how had I missed this before? I know we have double daffodils, but loved my new find. Especially as this past weekend, my friend Beth invited us to her hundred acre wood and her mom showed us their daylily gardens. Beth’s mom, Mary, talked about hybridizing the lilies and so she’ll know best about this.

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When I revisited the flowers later in the day, the sun shone brilliantly on them, enhancing their orangeness. Correct me if I’m wrong, but what I think has happened is that the petal formed along the stamen and imbedded the anther, thus it looks like a petal with grains of pollen. Crazy cool. And beautiful. And yummy.

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That wasn’t the only shade of orange worth wondering about. And it was no mistake the this fritillary butterfly chose the beebalm on which to land.

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Check out its mouth. A butterfly feeds through a coiled mouth part called a proboscis. When not in use, the proboscis recoils and is tucked into position against the butterfly’s head.

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Since the proboscis is narrow and straw-like, it allows the fritillary to extract sweet nectar from tubular-shaped flowers. Suck away, dear fritillary.

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The fritillary wasn’t the only beebalm visitor with a coiled proboscis.

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I actually heard it before I looked up and saw this moth. It sounded like a hummingbird and flapped its wings as fast or nearly as fast as a hummingbird and shared the name hummingbird. This is a hummingbird moth.

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Notice how the proboscis begins to unfurl as it approaches the flower.

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While it hovers, it probes.

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Searching deep for the source of sweetness, where others can’t reach.

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