Painting springtime for pollinators.

Scotch Broom

I saw lots of blooms on my drive home from the coast yesterday, and they were all yellow or orange. Giant acacia trees in their glory, and Scotch broom everywhere. Daffodils next to farm houses, and Bermuda Buttercup, a.k.a. sourgrass.

I pulled off the road a couple of times to investigate the low orange swaths; I knew I had identified them before but couldn’t remember what I’d learned. They are Field Marigolds. I wish I could show you how their plantations look from the car window, impressionistic brush strokes in the dirt or short weeds. The whole is greater than its parts, though I like each modest flower, too. You would never know by seeing the painting, that they were in process of closing up for the evening.

Field Marigold

We saw lots of Prostrate Capeweed last month on the Marin Headlands but I didn’t know what it was. Since then I’ve seen it twice. They say it is invasive, and I believe it.

Prostrate Capeweed

I could mention the California poppies, too, which are coming out now, mostly found in yellow and orange tones. And why is it that the wildflowers of early spring are predominantly yellow? It has something to do with who pollinates them, and with that color making them more visible for the relatively few pollinators that are out working at this time of year. More flies than bees, by the way.

I bet there are a few flies in this field of mustard!

8 thoughts on “Painting springtime for pollinators.

  1. I’d never noticed that Spring pollinators are yellow! How intriguing! I do like Marigolds and they are so jolly! My mum uses Calendula Marigolds to make a skin balm.
    Yes, that field of mustard must be a Godsend to them! I saw 2 bumblebees this week in my garden. We have (yellow) miniature Daffodils in our garden at the moment and I planted some tulips! The Hyacinths are coming up so I hope the pollinators appreciate those too!


  2. I note that your Prostrate Capeweed is a South African import 🙂 I have also often wondered at the predominance of yellow flowers and think you have a point about them being easily visible to pollinators,


  3. I never thought about the colors and pollination but that makes loads of sense. I love the California poppy and tried to grow some with seed (unsuccessfully) here. I suspect the problem lay more with the gardener than the seed!


  4. Wow! We won’t have California poppies for months, but a friend gave me a pot of seeds that I may nurse along for the rest of the winter.
    I love your plant discoveries!
    I think California is beeeee-yoooooo-tiful!
    Love to you, friend!


  5. It’s unfortunate that Prostrate Capeweed is invasive because the daisy-like blooms are very pretty. We have California Poppies that regrow in the most inhospitable spots in the gravel in front. No sign of them as yet though.


  6. No flowers in Ohio yet. I’m looking forward to them in a month…our daffodils have poked their greenery up! Such a beautiful landscape. I know exactly what you mean, as a whole it’s more beautiful, like a painting.


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