The rock purslane (Calandrinia grandiflora) attracts its share of insects.
This morning the brilliant magenta blossoms drew honey bees, carpenter bees and hover flies.
As a hover fly (aka syrphid fly or flower fly) gathered nectar, a spider crawled up a leaf of the succulent, presumably to check out the best place to weave a web.
The rock purslane is drought-tolerant and a good plant for xeroscaping.
And perfect for attracting pollinators--and an occasional spider.
The rain and wind took turns destroying the flowers in our garden last Sunday in a siege not unlike a scene from The Wrestler.
The rock purslane (Calandrinia grandiflora) took a beating, but like Mickey Rourke, it will return.
Last year the blossoms drew honey bees, native bees and hover flies--and, one spotted cucumber beetle.
The blossoms were simply gorgeous. With the warmth of the morning sun, the magenta petals peeked open and then unfolded to the tune of Vivaldi's Spring. Or maybe it just seemed like it.
This is a perennial that welcomes all visitors. "When you're here, you're family." Roll out the magenta carpet. No guest list. No engraved invitation. No RSVP.
And no gift for the hostess.
The visitors ARE the gift.
Twenty-nine days to go.
If you love bees and know how to design a bee friendly garden, remember Jan. 30.
Jan. 30 is the deadline to submit your design for the half-acre bee friendly garden at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility, UC Davis. The nationwide competition is funded by Häagen-Dazs.
This will be a pollinator paradise that will meet the nutritional needs of honey bees and serve as a living laboratory.
"It will provide a much needed, year-around food source for our bees," said Lynn Kimsey, chair of the Department of Entomology and director of the Bohart Museum of Entomology. "We anticipate it also will be a gathering place to inform and educate the public about bees."
The UC Davis Department of Entomology Web site lists the rules, the prizes, and provides a list of bee-favorite flowering plants. Plans call for "something" to be blooming throughout the year.
The long list of flowering plants includes sages, toyon, catmint and lavender.
To that I'd add the rock purslane (Calandrinia grandiflora). In our own bee friendly garden, that's a favorite of the bees. And guess what? It's blooming right now, in the dead of winter. Ray Lopez, owner of El Rancho Nursery, Vacaville (where we bought the plant), says it blooms throughout the year in California.
We haven't seen the bees lately, but the rock purslane is waiting for them.
The movie, "Sideways," has nothing on a spotted cucumber beetle climbing up, down and sideways on a rock purslane.
The spotted cucumber beetle is a pest, while the rock purslane has to be among the world's most beautiful flowers. (And also very attractive to insects.)
The 2004 movie is about two guys on a life-altering journey through the wine country of Napa. They drank copious amounts of the adult beverage.
The spotted cucumber beetle was just feeding on nectar, the insect's version of wine.
Last Saturday the rock purslane in our bee friendly garden drew a honey bee, several hover flies and one spotted cucumber beetle.
A hover fly landed on a blossom, only to find a spotted cucumber beetle there first.