Posts Tagged ‘Blue Fortune Giant Hyssop’


Agastache 'Heatwave', left, with helenium and 'Blue Fortune' Giant Hyssop

One of the garden visitors that I especially enjoy seeing is the Hummingbird Clearwing (Hemaris thysbe) moth. These amazing fliers are like miniature hummingbirds, moving from flower to flower and hovering at each bloom as they search for nectar. Also called Hawk Moths, they are often attracted to phlox, and I photographed the moth below in the early summer as it visited woodland phlox (Phlox divaricata).


Recently, they have been regular visitors at the ‘Heatwave’ agastache. All of the agastache (pronounced ag-ah-STAK-ee as per Fine Gardening magazine) are popular with pollinators. For an account of bees at the agastache ‘Blue Fortune’ Giant Hyssop, follow this link to Bee Happy. ‘Heatwave’ is a little different from ‘Blue Fortune’, having long, tubular hot-pink flowers that the moths seem to find irresistable.


This passage is from a June, 2009 post. You can read the full entry here. Additional photos of moths at ‘Heatwave’ agastache follow.

Hummingbird Clearwing moths (Hemaris thysbe) are quite common and widespread. When you think of moths, the creatures that first come to mind might be the drab little characters that flutter around your porch light at night, but some moths fly by day. The Hummingbird Clearwing is also sometimes called a Hawkmoth, and is a member of the Sphinx moth family. Sphinx moths are fast, powerful fliers. The Hummingbird Clearwing has narrow wings with a dark band surrounding the translucent centre that gives this moth its name. Sphinx caterpillars are called hornworms because they typically have a short “horn” on their posterior end. Most hornworms don’t spin a cocoon but pupate in an earthen cell, built from leaf litter, just below the soil surface.





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When I stopped by Canadian Tire recently, I checked out their garden section. Along with the usual fall selection of mums in bright autumnal colours, they had some nice agastache plants. I passed up the mums, but brought home a few pots of the agastache.
It’s a variety called Blue Fortune Giant Hyssop, fairly commonly available at garden centres. I’ve grown it before in past gardens and found it to be a rather short-lived perennial, but it has several charms. It’s purple flowers are pretty to look at, and it is a bee magnet. Bumblebees love it. Absolutely adore it. While bees visit many flowers in the garden and surrounding fields, nothing attracts bumblebees like agastache. All day, every day, you can wander out into the garden and see the agastache spires dotted with bumblebees.


The visitors seem to be mostly of two species. I believe the smaller bumblebee on the left to be a Common Eastern Bumblebee (Bombus impatiens), while the larger bee on the right is an Eastern Carpenter Bee (Xylocopa virginica). The fuzzy hairs that give bumble bees a kinder, gentler look than other bees, provide them with insulation that allows them to fly at cooler temperatures than most pollinators.



Agastache is a member of the Lamiaceae family, which also includes mints and lavender. Blue Fortune is a hybrid cross of A. rugosa and A. foeniculum. The former is native to Asia, where hyssop has long been used as a herbal remedy, reputed to be helpful with fevers, upset stomachs and cold symptoms. A. foeniculum is native to North America from northern Canada south to Colorado and Wisconsin. For more about agastache for the garden, check out this Fine Gardening site.


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