Honeybee on helenium flowers

Autumn flowers are like autumn leaves - often brightly coloured in golds and reds - but for different reasons.  The colourful leaves of deciduous plants are letting go, having fulfilled their function.  Autumn flowers are active, producing pollen, attracting bees, setting seeds.

A honeybee at work on helenium flowers.  Heleniums are often part of colourful autumn displays.  Originally from North America, they were called swamp sunflower or sneezewort (quite a few flowers have this connection, but this time it is not because of the effect of their pollen but because the leaves were used to make snuff, apparently).  There are a good number of garden cultivars in gold and red colours.  I haven't grown heleniums, but they are said to be easy to grow and disease resistant, preferring rich moist soil.  But despite the dry conditions they were putting on a great display in the Wellington Botanical Gardens.  And the bee was busy appreciating them too.