by David Salman

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Two-Spotted Western Swallowtail sipping on Agastache Blue Blazes

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.

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Two-Spotted Swallowtail

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.

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Western Tiger Swallowtail on Agastache Blue Blazes.

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.

Text and Photos by David Salman.

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Agastache | Hummingbird Mint