Blooming Anise Hyssop Attracts Bees and Butterflies

Anise Hyssop or Giant Blue Hyssop has been blooming at the edge of our garden for a couple of weeks now.

This purple-flowering plant is native to the American plains, but we have found out that it grows quite well in the Appalachian Mountains of Pennsylvania.

The blooms are pretty spikes of purple that grow longer as the plant blooms for a few weeks time. That’s a nice thing about anise hyssop in that the blooms are long lasting.

Anise Hyssop in full bloom will attract bees and butterflies.
Anise Hyssop in full bloom will attract bees and butterflies.

Bees and butterflies are attracted to the flowers like crazy. Standing near the hyssop one can hear the buzzing of the bees that visit constantly. We’ve seen several kinds of butterflies and hummingbirds visit the blossoms as well.

The leaves smell of anise and can be used to make a tasty tea that is sweet enough to not require sugar or honey!

All-in-all Anise Hyssop, Agastache foeniculum, is one nice garden plant because it attracts pollinators, provides beautiful flowers to look at and leaves for tea, and it’s a perennial too!

Joe Pye Weed and Loosestrife Purple Along the Roadside

Several purple flowering plants can be seen along most country roads that haven’t recently been mowed.

Most notable among these pretty flowering weeds are the tall Joe Pye Weed and Purple Loosestrife.

Joe Pye Weed can reach more than 6 feet tall while Purple Loosestrife tops out at 4-5 feet tall.

The flowers of Purple Loosestrife are held in spikes with a vertical look to them, while the purple flowers of Joe Pye Weed are more like rounded clusters. The purple color is similar between the two plants.

Joe Pye Weed (left) and Purple Loosestrife (right) flowering along a country road.
Joe Pye Weed (left) and Purple Loosestrife (right) flowering along a country road.

Other purple flowering weeds are yet to make their presence known, including New York Iron Weed and New England Aster. Look for them to start flowering at the end of the month and well into September.

Mosquitoes Lay Eggs on Still Water No Matter How Shallow

Unforgotten buckets left to collect rain water can be perfect places for mosquitoes to lay their eggs. The small amount of water that accumulates in discarded tires is deep enough for mosquitoes to carry on generations.

How shallow are we talking? Only a 1/4 inch or so is all the water that’s needed for a mosquito to lay her rafts of eggs on the water’s surface. As long as the water is still or stagnant mosquitoes will find and use the smallest puddles that can’t be used for much else.

Take this shallow indentation in a plastic chair. Rain water collected in the seat of the chair and was left to lay. Algae grew, leaves and dirt collected in there, and eventually a mosquito found her quarry.

Shallow water in a chair seat was deep enough for a mosquito to lay her eggs.
Shallow water in a chair seat was deep enough for a mosquito to lay her eggs.

Even though the depth of the water was minimal the stagnant puddle was perfect for laying eggs.

Watch this video showing how mosquito larvae wriggle around in the shallow water.

Shortly after that video was taken the chair was tipped over to remove the standing water. To reduce the mosquito population around your house, make sure to tip over any buckets or other objects that can collect rain water.

New Lavender Flower in Grassy Field

A new flower for me. Had I not taken a second look my scanning of the empty field would have lumped in this new flower with the chicory that was starting to bloom everywhere.

But wait a minute…chicory is a powder blue color and its blossoms seem to be stuck to the main stem at random places. This new flower was terminal on a long stem. The main stem rose up a couple of feet into the air and at the end was a single composite flower of irregular flowers.

Field Scabious Among the Tall Grasses
Field Scabious Among the Tall Grasses

(Photos taken 26 June 2014.)

Field scabious flowers held high among the grasses of an open field.
Field scabious flowers held high among the grasses of an open field.

The petals were a softer color more to the purple side of blue, like lavender. And the petals were shorter and didn’t have the teeth at the tips like the fringed petals of chicory.

Read moreNew Lavender Flower in Grassy Field

Is That A White Phlox Blooming in Summer?

The other day I was driving over to an Amish woman’s vegetable stand when I spotted this group of plants that looked like a small version of phlox blooming in white at the edge of a corn field.

How could a phlox be blooming in the heat of summer? I thought phlox was strictly a spring-blooming plant, so of course I had to stop to look a bit closer and find out what these pretty white flowers were.

Bouncing Bet flowering next to a country road near a cornfield.
Bouncing Bet flowering next to a country road near a cornfield.

(Photos taken 10 July 2014.)

Bouncing Bet has been introduced in North America and is native to Europe. It can be found across the United States in waste places and in great masses along roads and at the edges of fields.

The plants stood about a foot tall and may continue growing taller and still

Read moreIs That A White Phlox Blooming in Summer?