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:
No one was fooled by the mystery pollinator last week.
Although it looks like honey bee, it is actually a flower fly.
This is a honey bee.
The flower fly is a honey bee mimic. If you look closely, the real honey bee has longer antennae, and has four wings rather than two.
Honey bees also have large flattened areas on their hind legs called pollen baskets.
Another difference is that honey bees collect and carry pollen on purpose, whereas flower flies feed on nectar and are accidental pollen carriers.
Regardless, they are both fun to watch!
In the recent post about the insects visiting a Texas sage, one of the photographs showed an adult flower fly.
The adults are called flower or hover flies because they visit flowers for nectar. But where do they come from? This week we'll see more of the life cycle.
Here's an adult fly next to some aphids. What is it doing?
Because the adults drink nectar, it probably isn't eating the aphids.
There's a clue at the end of the abdomen, which the fly has stretched out and is pressing against the plant.
Have an idea now?
It is laying eggs.
The egg will hatch into a larva. We've seen those feeding on aphids in a previous post.
The next stage to capture is the pupa. Stay tuned!