A photo essay starting at the end and evolving backwards.

Clusters of berries that have been partially eaten, perhaps by birds that will spread the seeds to new areas:

Partially eaten jack-in-the-pulpit berries, with white spots where the berries were.

Beautiful ripe berries:

Ripe jack-in-the-pulpit berries.

Because there are berries, these two plants were female.

Mostly green berries that are just starting to turn red.

But get this: next year, both of these same plants will probably be male! Jack-in-the-pulpits change sex depending on how much energy they have stored. Producing berries takes a lot of energy, so usually the next year they’re male.

Dark green jack-in-the-pulpit berries.

Family photo of four blooming jacks under their tall, umbrella-like leaves. I assume the two plants on the right are male, though I didn’t know to check while they were blooming. Next year I will look more closely!

Four jack-in-the-pulpits under their tall leaves.

Stretching their leaves open:

Two jack-in-the-pulpit plants with their leaves still unfurling.

Unfurling:

Three jack-in-the-pulpit plants that are just beginning to open.

Just getting started:

Two short pointed shoots coming out of the ground.

About this flower

I can’t resist spying on sleeping bumblebees.

bumblebee hanging under a monarda blossom, with its head tucked into the leaf

Their sleeping positions are sometimes peculiar.

bumblebee holding onto the right side of a gray-headed coneflower

bumblebee perched between two petals of a purple coneflower

A few rest on the top of flowers — like this bee that looks like it’s sleeping on a pink cloud.

bumblebee at the top of a large joe-pye weed blossom

But most of them hang upside-down from blossoms or under leaves.

bumblebee underneath the spike of a purple giant hyssop

Joe-pye weed was a particular favorite this year.

bumblebee under a light-pink flower with its head to the flower cluster

bumblebee in the same spot on a similar flower, but with its head to the outside

two bumblebees on a joe-pye weed cluster, one underneath on the left and one upright on the right

This has to be the funniest flower choice I’ve seen. The bees are bigger than the flowers!

two big bumblebees hanging onto small fleabane flowers that are pointing straight down under their weight

I try not to spend too much time looking at them, though, because they seem to get stressed out if I’m too close.

bumblebee hanging under the right side of a cluster of dozens of pearly everlasting flowers

It’s better to take a quick picture and then admire digitally.

bumblebee hanging upside-down in the six o'clock position of a cup plant blossom

bumblebee sleeping vertically on the right side of a blazingstar

big bumblebee underneath a goldenrod

More of my posts about bumblebees

With the late and wet start to the summer this year, there were lots of people wondering what happened to the bumblebees.

three blazingstar spikes, with a bumblebee at the bottom of the middle flower

I was one of them, but I knew that they don’t usually show up until the bee balm starts blooming, so I wasn’t too worried. Only a few showed up then, though.

bumblebee on the left side of a bee balm blossom

It wasn’t until the joe-pye weed, purple giant hyssop, and cup plant reached full bloom that the bumblebees arrived en masse.

closeup of a bumblebee face-down in joe-pye weed

two bumblebees on opposite sides of a purple giant hyssop spike

bumblebee in the center disk of a cup plant flower

And now, whenever it’s sunny, the front yard is in constant motion.

Bumblebees on cup plant, with a monarch flyby at the end:

Bumblebees on purple giant hyssop:

Not just bumblebees, but other bees too.

two bumblebees and another bee on a joe-pye weed cluster

five small, black bees on whorled milkweed

The only thing I haven’t seen much of this year is honeybees.

bee with yellow legs standing on top of a blue vervain spike

medium-sized bee upside-down on a culver's root spike

bumblebee covered in pollen on the right side of a gray-headed coneflower

Where are the bees? In my yard. Plant native flowers, and you’ll see bees, too.

looking up at a cluster of cup plant blossoms, with a bee on one flower and another flying past

bumblebee with pollen on its back, working on joe-pye weed

Right now, so many of the garden blooms are purple.

10-foot-wide section of a pollinator garden with purple coneflowers at top left, blazingstar at bottom left, bee balm in the center, and phlox at the right.

 
Allium:

Two purple globe-shaped flowers.

Bee balm:

Two dozen spiky light-purple flowers.

Blazingstar:

Five spikes with lots of purple flowers blooming at the tops.

Phlox:

Three clusters of dark pink flowers.

(I’m choosing not to include the invasive creeping bellflower, though it is purple.)

But is this joe-pye weed pink or purple?

Large cluster of small, spiky flowers. A bumblebee is on the right side.
 
Color is indeed subjective. I would say these flowers are pink, but they’re called purple coneflowers:

Two dozen pink flowers with large, cone-shaped centers.

I would definitely call this one purple, but its name is blue vervain:

Tall spikes, each with tiny purple flowers in a ring.

And this is purple giant hyssop, but it looks less and less purple every year:

Flower spike with tiny white flowers.

Milkweed is such an important plant. Its leaves are the only thing monarch caterpillars will eat, and its flowers attract all kinds of pollinators. So it’s exciting to see several kinds of milkweeds taking off in my yard this year.

The whorled milkweed is the big winner. For several years I couldn’t figure out why it wouldn’t grow, even though I bought six-packs of plugs in two different years. And then we put up a rabbit fence, which has made all the difference. There are so many individual plants now that I lose track when counting.

I could tell, right when it first started coming up, that there would be more this year — notice the old stems next to the new shoots.

Closeup of several small green plants next to three tall brown stems.

Now it seems like there are more and more whorled stems every day.

Dozens of plants with narrow leaves, in varying heights.

Poke milkweed is such a fun variety. This year it nearly quadrupled.

Three brown stems, each with multiple one-inch plants nearby.
Bright-green hairless plant with large leaves and many green bud clusters.

Swamp milkweed doubled…

Two old stems in the background, four short new shoots in front.

…and it’s looking really good.

Three tall green plants with wet leaves. The fourth plant is not visible.

The common milkweed always shows up by the dozens, so I can’t honestly say that there are more than ever. But there are a lot, and that is good enough.

The edge of a garden, with a half dozen one-foot milkweeds in front of other types of native plants.

The prairie milkweed has never done much, but the two plants are back, so I’m happy.

One milkweed plant with leaves standing nearly straight up.

So far, I’ve seen less butterfly weed than before. But it is always a late bloomer compared to the others, so maybe there’s still time for more to pop up.

Four short, light-green, hairy plants.

Added together, there are hundreds of milkweeds in the front and back garden, which makes for great habitat for monarchs.

Now it’s caterpillar season. My garden has been fortunate to host possibly two dozen (or more) from this first generation of 2019. Even the whorled milkweed, with its skinny leaves, has four residents.