First off, let me do a little boasting (for which I should honestly take no credit) about the success of the hollyhocks I started from seed (mixed colors, doubles) last spring. While last year they never bloomed and the plants themselves didn't get any bigger than footballs, they came on like gangbusters this season. The tallest spike is just over 8 feet !!
And how clever of them to sort themselves out: the tall red right next to the arbor, the shorter whites flanking it and the more petite peaches-n-cream coming up with one of the whites. And they are attracting honeybees and solitary bees. Unfortunately the Jap beetles delight in burrowing into the blossoms and I have to dig them out.
I'm seeing honeybees, solitary bees, hover bees, sweat bees, etc. etc. I even tolerate the many carpenter bees (oh my poor shed). But I've not seen at all this year is even one bumblebee. Nada. Zip. I've been reading that they are in bad trouble this year and the total lack thereof seems to bear that out. I really miss those big 'teddy bear' bees.
I am, however, seeing many more of the green metallic bees this year, especially on the coneflowers and sunflowers.
Local honeybees are having a grand time on the white clover, the still blooming Johnson's Blue geranium (going on 9 weeks now!), the many varieties of zins, sunflowers and phlox.
And then there are the butterflies... wow... but I'll do a separate post about them later.
Bottom line the place is buzzin'. I just wish there were some big friendly bumbles in the mix.