Thursday, July 19, 2012

Ants and sunflowers

For the most part, we prescribe to the notion that what we plant should have a purpose: whether it is something about the individual or an important functional element (food particular to the houses cooking or ornamental to the local are).

so when we travel from place to place we tend to judge the homes occupants by the plants visible from the street. (for example, if a person had purposely planted a large garden of thistle, we might think to ourselves, "that grower must be a tough, good looking complete asshole")


we keep our sunflowers for their fall seeds (us and the birds) and their show of strength during the summer's most brutal heat days. they follow the 100 degree sun as if to say, "is that all you've got".
 this lot ranges from 7 feet to 9 feet. 
we grow shorter varieties in the front of these to get a sort of stairs step look.

this morning for the photo i saw ants and parasitic wasps going after aphids on the sunflowers. during a season we are also guaranteed to see lacewings, lady bugs and the odd preying mantis. 
there are three basic feedings going on during the life of the sunflower. one is us/birds eating the seeds, two would be bugs eating bugs and third is the crazy relationship between that which comes out of the aphids backside and the ants eating it. apparently, ants love the honeydew that is excreted by the aphids. 

one of the better documentaries out there is "microcosmos". a french documentary on insects. they use microscopic cameras and excellent sounds. i am thinking that it is about insects of the french pyrenees mountains. one of the scenes is of ants taking the aphid honeydew right out of the spigot. felt like i had to go to confession after seeing it.

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