At the beginning of Spring, it is the simple white flowers of leafy, spicy Rocket (Arugula) heralding the change to a warmer season in our garden. Cross-shaped blooms, four veined petals in each, sway in the breeze atop the long, thin flower stalks these salad greens are sending skywards. These beautiful blossoms are edible and, just like the plant's dandelion-like leaves, they add a pungent peppery "kick" to salads.
The simple, beautiful and edible blooms of Rocket.
It isn't their spiciness attracting our native bees to these flowers though. Rather, these simple, unruffled flowers give them easy access to pollen and nectar. After finally cutting back the basil "supermarket" our native bees had been foraging in, letting the Rocket flower and go to seed has provided an alternate feast for these tiny, busy little creatures.
A little native bee gathering pollen from a Rocket flower.
After these pretty flowers are spent, plump, bright green seed pods form. Encased within are the developing seeds. When these pods are dry and brown, I will pick them and collect the little brown seeds hiding within. Then, I will have free Rocket seeds to store and share and scatter next year.
Plump seed pods form after the flowers.
Saved seeds mean more rocket next year. More rocket means more of these simple, sweet flowers which means more seeds and then, again, more rocket and in turn more flowers. Our native bees (and me) will be happy indeed:)