The most interesting plants in the Herb Garden right now are the Garlic Chives (Allium tuberosum) and the ‘Italian White’ Sunflower (Helianthus annuus).
Garlic Chives are the only Alliums blooming at the moment in the whole garden. I think they are quite beautiful. They spread like mad, but that’s not much of a problem because they must compete with other aggressive herbs like Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare), Rue (Ruta graveolens), and Borage (Borago officinalis).
Pollinators love Garlic Chives, just as they love all Alliums. If you need a moment of Zen, just watch all the winged critters buzzing around the Garlic Chives for a few minutes.
This is a Bald-Faced Hornet, I think.
The flowers and greens of Garlic Chives are edible, but so far we haven’t used them in the kitchen. I keep thinking I’ll add some to my scrambled eggs. As the name implies, they have a garlicky flavor. I think the stems are more tender before the flowers bloom.
Not sure if this is a plain old honeybee or something different.
This looks like a honeybee. I really need to get to know more about bee species.
This is a Great Black Wasp, a kind of Digger Wasp. It’s a scary-looking critter, let’s face it. But I’ve hung around them for years and have never been stung. It’s a predator that helps control the insect population.
This is another beneficial insect, a kind of Tachinid Fly. Sure it’s ugly, but its larvae parasitizes and consumes countless insect pests.
Moving on to a more attractive subject. Now is when my favorite annual Sunflower variety, ‘Italian White’, really shines. It branches out beautifully – this is all one plant. It is far taller than anything else in the Herb Garden and so it is growing to its full dimensions. The red crabapples of ‘Donald Wyman’ make a nice background.
I’m going to stop deadheading these flowers now that it’s September, to allow the Goldfinches to feast on the seeds.
Do you cook with Garlic Chives? And do you have a favorite Sunflower variety?