Garlic Chives Pollinators

One section of my garden is turning white and humming with visitors. The garlic chives pollinators are holding their annual convention.

buckeye butterfly on garlic chives
Garlic chive flowers are popular with the butterflies. The monarchs found them one year. Several buckeye butterflies were busy this year. They tend to fan their wings while sipping nectar.

Years ago my father gave me a ten inch pot of garlic chives. He had several rows of it in his garden. He would cut off a row and feed it to his goats every week.

wasps are garlic chives pollinators
This is a stout wasp. When it buzzes in, the other insects move to other umbels. The reddish color is from red hairs.

I knew what chives were, or so I thought. They were this kitchen herb used to flavor eggs and other such dishes. Except those are onion chives.

honeybees are garlic chives pollinators
There were honeybee hives behind the house when we first moved here. The beekeeper was old. The hives were abandoned and the bees moved out. Now they nest in the wild, but still enjoy the bounty of the garden such as the garlic chives.

Garlic chives can be used as a kitchen herb much as the other is. The leaves of the garlic chives are flat and have a more peppery taste.

dusky wing skipper
Skippers are fun to watch. Their wings tend to separate as they sit on a flower. They are smaller tan many butterflies. The dusky wing group has several kinds.

Potted plants and I don’t do well together. I tend to forget to water or overwater, both of which lead to dead plants. The garlic chives moved into the garden in a nice two foot square area.

striped wasps are garlic chives pollinators
This jet black wasp has two white stripes on the abdomen. It may be a fierce insect other times, but ignores me going by as it gorges on one flower after another.

In August the plants put up their flowering stalks and the garlic chives pollinators moved in. The flowers made seeds. The garlic chives spread and now cover an eight foot by ten foot area.

small red and black wasp
I’m calling this a wasp, but it may be a bee. It is the size of the native bees and holds its wings like they do. It still was enjoying visiting the garlic chive flowers.

The flowers are in umbels or bouquets. The visitors include bees both native and honeybees, bumblebees of at least two kinds, four or more kinds of wasps, flies, beetles, several kinds of butterflies and an occasional hummingbird.

silver spotted skipper
One of the largest skippers, the silver spotted is common here. I see them here and there. The garlic chive flowers are the cue for a convention. The name comes from the white spots on the lower wings.

My garden never seems to lack pollinators. They enjoy the squash, peppers, tomatoes, okra and flowers. I enjoy the harvest.

But the bounty found by the garlic chives pollinators attracts many more kinds and numbers. They are so busy with the flowers I can walk along the paths around the patch to look at and photograph them.

bumbleebees are garlic chives pollinators
Several kinds of bumbleebees live in the area. This is the smallest one and the dullest in color. These do well on the garlic chive flowers. The larger ones tend to bend the umbels toward the ground.

Much as I like seeing the flowers and insects, my patch is large enough. After the flowers are done blooming, before the seeds are set, I will cut off the flower stalks for an arm’s length into the patch from all sides tossing the stalks into the patch. The new plants will fill in between the old ones and not spread further out.

Meet more Ozark insects in “Exploring the Ozark Hills.”