I stayed home today to work on plant descriptions for next year’s 2011 spring catalog. As I was taking a late morning stretch, I stepped out back into one of my gardens where I encountered a flurry of pollination taking place on three plants of Agastache ‘Blue Blazes’. This is my second year testing this new cultivar and plants are huge and loaded with several hundred big lavender and blue flower spikes in full bloom. It will be a featured new variety for next spring and I’m just blown away with its beauty and attractiveness to all the pollinators. But I digress.
The bees were buzzing around, a shimmering green hummingbird was busy sipping the blooms and suddenly there was a huge Two Spotted Western Swallowtail descending down onto the plants seeking their flowers. I rushed back into the house to grab my camera and for the next 15 or so minutes, I photographed this extraordinary creature. The swallowtail was so relishing its morning meal that it was completely at ease with my presence and let me share its space.
After viewing the photos I think it was a newly hatched swallowtail as its wings and tails were brilliantly colored, blemish-free and un-tattered. Its grace and lightness were a wonder to behold as it would flutter up from the flower spike with its huge, yellow striped wings, circle around above the plants and then land again and again and again, the plants a seemly endless supply of nectar. And this, I remind myself, is why I surround myself with flowers.
Agastache rupestris (Licorice Mint Hyssop) is one of the best, most durable species in the Agastache family. With smoky orange flowers held by lavender calyxes, the entire plant is scented like licorice and mint. A 1996 High Country Gardens introduction. Drought resistant/drought tolerant perennial plant (xeric).
FlowerKisser® Arizona Snow Agastache (Agastache urticifolia 'Alba') is a pure white flowered form of mountain hyssop, selected for its exceptional cold hardiness and nectar-rich flowers. Stunning flowers and fragrant foliage make this a must-have addition to attract native bees and butterflies. Its very upright growth habit make it a wonderful choice for the perennial border. Deer and rabbit resistant. A 2020 High Country Gardens Introduction.
Agastache Glowing Embers is a fantastic selection of Licorice Mint Hyssop (Hummingbird Mint) with fragrant foliage and glowing orange-red tubular flowers that are a favorite with hummingbirds. Plant in containers to enjoy this plant in the eastern U.S. Exclusive. 24-26" tall x 24-28" wide.
Blue Blazes is a large growing hybrid hummingbird mint with lavender-purple flower spikes. Very long blooming, its flowers attract hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees making it an essential perennial for pollinators.