I am re-running this article because the story continued with this amazing plant. Agastache 'Blue Blazes'" became a national sensation after it launched in the 2011 Spring catalog. It launched on he cover of our Collectors Edition. It then caught national attention because this Agastache can feed Hummingbirds, Butterflies and Bees.
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.
Hardy Plumbago (Ceratostigma plumbaginoides) is one of the most versatile groundcovers for cold climates growing in both sun and shade and most soil types. Plumbago blooms in late summer with deep blue flowers followed by the foliage that turns burgundy red in fall.
Nepeta 'Select Blue' (Select Blue Catmint) is a fantastic xeric perennial with dramatic lavender-blue flowers and handsome gray-green foliage. A recurrent bloomer, the first flush of flowers comes in late spring, and again later in summer. A long-lived, easily grown perennial, this is an excellent plant for beginners.
1" tall x 18" wide. Pink Chintz Thyme (Thymus Pink Chintz) is a tight, low growing creeping thyme with thick stems of woolly green foliage that blooms in mid-spring with a profusion of salmon-pink flowers.
Rudbeckia Goldsturm blooms in mid-to-late summer with an eye-catching display of golden flowers. Black Eyed Susan is very attractive to butterflies and the seed heads provide winter food for seed-eating songbirds as well. Reliable and tough, Rudbeckia tolerates both drought and clay plus easy to maintain.