Is it possible to be grateful for kudzu? I believe it is, even though I won’t permit it to smother my trees and shrubs. The vine in this photo isn’t actually kudzu, but it is kudzu-like in its tenacity; I periodically have to yank it off my shrubs so they can breathe. (I wanted to have a rhyming title today, and “Et tu, ivy?” didn’t fit the bill.) What I like about this vine is that it can be used as natural twine; having pulled it off the shrubs, I strip it of leaves and wind it around various plants that need to be staked or trellised, like my sunflowers and tomatoes. I’m also grateful for the bloom next to the vine, which is (I think) a dayflower.
I find I’m particularly fond of native bees, although I despair of ever learning to identify them. I surfed around and found Join the Conversation about Native Bees, which may contain the answer. Maybe this one is an anthrophora centriformis? What I do know is that I love this bee’s pollen baskets, which are so full they look like woolly leg warmers!
And I’m thrilled with this sunflower, which was liberated last week during the Wild Sunflower Caper. I removed it from a construction site, where it was slated to be bulldozed for the building of yet another strip shopping center. I transplanted it into the fifth row of my wildflower garden; and not only has this plant survived, it is already thriving. Wild sunflowers are tough!