Late summer sedums provide essential nectar for bees as they stoke up for the winter. The plants are easy to grow, tolerate gardener’s neglect and low rainfall, add splashes of welcome colour just when other flowering plants are fading, and best of all, provide us with the gently humming company of bees. Bee-lissful!
We used to call them sedums (Sedum spectabile). Now, for reasons best known to botanical taxonomists, these common garden succulents have been re-named Hylotelephium spectabile. Talk about a horticultural tongue-twister.
They are late summer bloomers of the stone crop family with flat umbrellas of tiny flowers, on the cusp of opening in the header photo. (The fallen petals belong to some neighbouring phlox). Once they are flowering, the bees and other pollinators will come in swarms for their end-of-season stoke-up on nectar. They are VERY IMPORTANT bee fodder.
That’s one good reason to grow them. Another is that they are exceedingly drought tolerant. A clump on an abandoned plot at the allotment has survived all through the four months of heat and drought, while anyway occupying an arid, rain-shadowed spot under a goat willow, and without any attention whatsoever. While the stems are looking a touch pallid, it is still preparing to put on a floral display. I’m thinking I might repatriate it chez Farrell, that’s if I can excavate it from the concrete soil in which it is presently subsisting.
And the third reason for growing sedums is that they have a certain architectural value in the garden – both before, during, and after flowering. They come in a range of colours through the pink to burgundy spectrum. There are also white ones, and some with variegated foliage.
With some thoughtful planting they can indeed be spectabile, limit the need for watering in dry weather, and keep the bees well fed at summer’s end.
This little crab spider is for Ark at A Tale Unfolds. He regularly shares with us the fascinating wildlife in his Johannesburg garden. He’s rather keen on spiders. The one on my sedum (Misumena vatia) is, if internet photos are anything to go by, capable of taking on a big, fat bumble bee. The bees here are being a tad regardless I feel, so keen are they to guzzle nectar.
In fact sedums are bee heaven at this time of year, so everyone who can, do grow them. There’s a huge range to choose from. The bees are doubtless stoking up energy for the winter ahead. I also forgot to mention that the crab spider can, in a limited way, change colour to match the flowers it is hunting on, though it usually frequents yellow and white ones.
In my September in my garden post I mentioned that the rose at the top of the steps, Teasing Georgia, had come into bud for a second flourish. At the time the weather promised to be so dismal, I wondered if she’d get a chance to bloom without the flowers being rained off. Well, the sun came back and Georgia came out in all her golden flounces:
And here’s another tiny spider, identity unknown, sneaking in the echinacea (centre right):
And finally, a sun-dappled Japanese Anemone with a hover fly:
I’m linking to this Cee’s flower of the day
Please visit her blog for a daily floral fix.