Tuesday, June 24, 2008

A blooming onion feast (for insects, anyway)

photo of onion flowers
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.

photo of onion flowers
The flowers are visited by the European honey bee (Apis millifera), of course.

photo of onion flowers
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.

photo of onion flowers
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

5 comments:

theysaywordscanbleed said...

such lovely plants!

arlene,
West Bremerton florist

Elise said...

And what a lovely Neruda poem. Thanks for posting.

jen maiser said...

Wow, those are beautiful.

Becks said...

Looks fun! I'll have to try that.

robotslingshot said...

I really like your blog!! I just discovered it through SFN.

I'll be back:>

Paula