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Jack was not involved …

Beans in the sun

I kept a few seeds from last year’s beans but didn’t get around to planting them until late. I have paid the price … a lot of flowers didn’t set. That means, they fall off the plant, so no beans. I read that if it gets too hot, flowers won’t set on scarlet runner beans. That’s why you plant them in spring, not summer,  as I did. 

I remembered from past years that it takes a while for things to crack along, so I remained optimistic. No bumble bees showing up was a problem. They seemed to be enjoying the mauvey-blue flowers on the huge sage plant close by, so I draped a few stems of the mauve flowers among the scarlet ones on the bean plants, but bumble bees are not as stupid as me. They just zipped past the beans and went to the sage again.

How was I going to attract them to the beans?

Bumble bees can’t see red. They can see blue-green, mauve-blue and ultra violet. And they like yellow and white flowers, too. But once a bee brushes against a red flower, and it happens organically, or accidentally, he carries the scent of it back to the hive. He then dances a little jig, pointing to the direction of the red flowers, and next day, a horde of bees bumble off in that direction to find the plant they can smell but can’t see. True! Or something like that.

I also had a serious chat to the flowers, and told them to smile at the bees, you know, open up and grin. And I guess they did just that because now dozens of them visit each day and the plant is laden with beans. That’s magic for you.

Beans growing nicely.
Beans growing nicely.
Beans in the sun
Bean plants reaching for the sky but not a lot of beans.
Bumble bee airborne
Bumble bee airborne!
Bumble bee on a mission!
Bumble bee approaching target.
Bumble bee lands.
Bumble bee lands and sticks his snout in!
Scarlet runners
Plenty of beans!

If you grow climbing beans in a garden bed, you will need to nip off the end of the runners (the stems that reach for the sky) or your beanstalk really could end up in the sky. Mine had a good go at getting there.

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