What's happening in the garden today?
The cilantro plants are flowering.
Some people might say the plants are finished and pull them out.
On the other hand, there are several reasons to leave them be.
First of all, cilantro has lovely lacy white flowers. It is a pretty plant.
Plus, if you let the plant mature, it will produce seeds that you can save for next year or share with fellow gardeners.
An additional benefit is that the flowers are food for pollinators, like this honey bee.
Or this flower fly.
Pollinators are important to help many different food and wild plants produce seeds. Allowing a few plants to make flowers can help them survive.
Beauty, seeds, pollinators. Letting cilantro go to seed is win-win.
Have you ever grown cilantro? Do you let it go to flower/set seeds?
Interested in learning more about how to attract and help preserve pollinators? Check out:
Spring is dragging along this year because we've had cool weather longer than usual. That's a good thing!
But is has also meant some insects are behind their usual schedule.
Take the solitary bees, like the digger and sweat bees. Usually we have clouds of tiny bees visiting flowers in March. This year they have been delayed.
The cuckoo bee can be an indicator. I watch the desert marigolds for them every year. This is a photograph of the first one I've spotted this year and it is April 15, 2020. In past years, we've seen them in February and March.
Taking photographs can be a way of keeping records of when certain events occur.
Do you have any insects that you look for year after year?
Do you know what this insect on a brittlebush flower is?
Not very attractive is it?
I'll give you a hint. Remember the lady beetles we saw two weeks ago?
This bumpy creature is a lady beetle larva.
Even though people usually can identify an adult lady beetle, not as many people recognize lady beetle larvae. The larvae are impactful, however, because they eat way more aphids than the adults do. Plus, if they survive, they become an adult.
The bottom line is that taking time to identify insects in all their stages and forms is important.