Tag Archives: cut flowers

Hyssop—A Magnificent Must-Have for Your Garden

There are some perennials that simply scream, “Plant me in your garden!  You’ll love me!”

Hyssop (Agastache ssp.) is one of those plants.

Why is this drought-tolerant stalwart a must-have perennial?  For all kinds of reasons.

Brian, my resident hummingbird, visits my hyssop several times daily for his latest dose of nectar.

It attracts hummingbirds and other pollinators.  At 5:40 last evening, I spotted Brian, my resident hummingbird, chowing down on nectar from my sunset hyssop.  Brian visits several times a day.  A couple of days ago, Brian even brought a friend with him.  I have two clusters of three hyssops in my back yard.  If you add orange carpet hummingbird (Zauschneria garrettii) ground cover to the mix, you may entice even more hummingbirds.

It adds vibrant color to your garden for at least two months.  Hyssop delivers not only purple, orange and pink blossoms, but blue ones, as well.  My favorites are sunset hyssop (Agastache rupestris) and Sonoran sunset hyssop (Agastache cana ‘Sinning’ Sonoran Sunset).  They begin blooming around mid-July and keep supplying flowers until frost.

Hyssop adds a stunning backdrop to lower-growing plants in the garden, such as dwarf broom (Genista lydia), Pawnee Buttes sand cherry (Prunus besseyi ‘Pawnee Buttes) and blue avena grass (Helictotrichon sempervirens). The fuchsia beauty in the back left is Sonoran sunset hyssop. To its right, you’ll see the orange-and-purple sunset hyssop.

It provides dramatic sprays that act as a backdrop to lower-growing plants in the garden.  In my garden, both the sunset and Sonoran sunset hyssops grow about 42 inches tall.

It’s a long-lasting cut flower.  I never thought hyssop would be a viable cut flower because the blooms look so delicate.  But I tried it as a background for zinnias and coneflowers in a simple arrangement, and the hyssop lasted nicely for four or five days.  I typically add half a teaspoon of sugar to the vase water to help flowers stay fresh longer.

Hyssop offers a lively background to this informal arrangement of zinnias and coneflowers.

It provides fragrance.  As a member of the Lamiaceae (mint) family, hyssop imparts a pleasant, minty aroma.

It offers food and drink for people.  You can add sunset hyssop’s edible blooms to salads and fruit dishes, or mix it with cream cheese or butter to make a tasty spread, according to medical herbalist Tammi Hartung in her blog, Desert Canyon Farm Green Thoughts.  You can also use the blossoms to make herbal tea.

The only downside to hyssop is that it’s not a long-lived perennial.  I lost two of them after three years.  But the other seven that I planted at the same time are still blooming reliably.  So I’ll simply replace these lovelies as needed.

 

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Zinnias Aren’t Just for Little Old Ladies Anymore

Fireball Blend zinnias produced an explosion of color for people and butterflies alike.

Fireball Blend zinnias produced an explosion of color for people and butterflies alike.

If your grandmother had a garden, I’ll bet she grew two of the foremost little-old-lady flowers known to humankind—zinnias and petunias.  Maybe hollyhocks, too.

This summer, I planted several varieties of zinnias in my garden.  Maybe it’s a sign of age.  Yes, some of them looked like little-old-lady zinnias.  But then there were these other zinnias. . .oh, mama!  They flaunted blazing colors and multiple four-inch single and double blooms on four-foot stalks.  I’m telling you, these zinnias screamed pizzazz!

This isn't your typical grandmother's flower.

This isn’t your typical grandmother’s flower.

What were these wonders of nature?  Botanical Interests® Fireball Blend zinnias.  They burst forth in July with myriad shades of red and orange.

I wasn’t the only one who was thrilled with them; the western tiger swallowtail butterflies were ecstatic!  Those fluttery visitors were all over those blooms.

On top of that, my fireballs kept me in cut flowers for weeks.

Maybe next year I’ll try petunias, too.

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Filed under Landscape Design, Plant Geekiness, Whimsy