Tuesday, June 24, 2008
A blooming onion feast (for insects, anyway)
A few months ago, I purchased two red onions from the farmers market but was unable to use them before they started to send out bright green shoots. Just for kicks, I planted them in the garden. They grew vigorously, eventually sending up several-foot tall scapes and later some flower buds.
A few weeks after the buds formed, my order of "blooming onions" was ready. Each scape is topped by a mass of small white flowers that is about the size of an orange. They are wildly popular with the pollen-eating and nectar-drinking insects in the backyard.
The flowers are visited by the European honey bee (Apis millifera), of course.
I was pleased to find a large number of small bees also visiting the onion flowers, with about two or three bees on each flower cluster at any one time, each one working from flower to flower, often more interested in the pollen than the nectar. I'm guessing that these are native bees, but don't know anything else about them.
I don't know if the onions in ground will be edible, but even if they are rotten hunks of roots, my blooming onion experience will still have been great.
To end this photo collection with some liberal arts, how about a poem about onions. One of my neighbors is a professor of English literature and recommends Pablo Neruda's Ode to an Onion. She strongly suggests reading it out loud to obtain the fullest appreciation of the poem.
Random link from the archive: Whole Urad Dal Soup
Technorati tags: Nature : Gardening