ray of sun

it’s june day bloom day, and the heat of day has finally subsided from its high of 98 degrees and index of 104…  i couldn’t think of a better image to capture the heat of summer than the newly blooming Helianthus annuus ‘Autumn Beauty’… perhaps the name indicates that i’m already pining for cooler temperatures?

Helianthus annus 'Autumn Beauty'
Helianthus annuus 'Autumn Beauty'
Helianthus annuus 'Autumn Beauty' a few days prior
Helianthus annuus 'Autumn Beauty' a few days prior

this sunflower in particular has proved to be quite popular with the critters… while i admire the sun rays passing through the petals, i feel a slight shower of projectile sugar water dance on my face… courtesy of these little buggers:

Homalodisca coagulata (glassy-winged sharpshooter)
Homalodisca coagulata (glassy-winged sharpshooter)

the glassy-winged sharpshooter pierces stems of many plant types, and sucks the water from the xylem, excreting sugar water.  when this water falls on leaves below, bacteria can grow on the surface.  cross contamination of this bacteria from one plant to another via sharpshooters can cause pierces disease, which can be lethal to grapevines.  check out this filmstrip video for more (it’s long, but informative):

now i know why one of our new raspberry canes doesn’t look so good…

back to the sunflowers…

Helianthus annuus 'Baby Bear'
Helianthus annuus 'Baby Bear'

the orangey-yellow color of this sunflower is especially cheerful in the raised vegetable bed.  growing on the trellis in the background is Dolichos lablab (purple hyacinth bean vine), a lovely combination against the young summer sky, especially with mr. flamingo nearby:

flamingo in the sun...
flamingo in the sun...

this guy was made by my great-grandfather everett (when mom, in the 20’s?) and eventually landed safely in my mom’s care.  she gave him a new feathered paint job (when mom, in the 80’s?) so he could make an appropriate garden appearance.  he must’ve felt the need to return to warmer climes, because he showed up on my doorstep as part of my thirty gifts for my birthday this year.  i love him… while he hasn’t acquired a taste for sharpshooters, he has acclimated to the texas heat quite well.

happy bloom day!


4 thoughts on “ray of sun

  1. You beat me to the bloom day post! 🙂 I love your sunflowers. Come visit us in September to see our ‘Autumn Beautys’ 😛 That’s IF the slugs or whatever don’t stop eating them. ALL the red sunflower seedlings got picked off!! I accused the man of pulling them up accidentally as weeds, since some were uprooted, but then saw that some were eaten in half…bummed. You got 30 presents?! That’s a nice garden heirloom 🙂 hahahaaa

    • you planted ‘Autumn Beauty’ too? great minds think alike…! i had issues with slugs in ithaca too. i ended up saving all my eggshells, ground them in the mini cuisinart, and sprinkled them around the base of the tender seedlings and transplants. don’t think that’ll deter the larger critters…, but it might help indicate what not to pull…!

    • thanks dreamybee! it looks like gardening in texas is going to be challenging, to say the least. since then i’ve also found a tobacco horn worm (a huge one that defoliated a tomateo), and squash vine borers… uh oh…

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