Native Plant Corner encourages the use of native plants in our peninsula’s landscapes in order to understand and conserve diverse pollinator populations, and complex food webs.
Gardening with native plants can transform your home landscape into a sanctuary for birds, butterflies, moths, bees, other insects and wildlife. Native plant gardening practices ( eliminating pesticides, reducing watering requirements, shrinking lawn space) contribute to creating a healthier habitat for you, your children, and the critters whose neighborhood we share and whose biological services we (and all life) need to survive. Native landscapes create safe migration corridors for insects and birds and encourage plant resilience in the face of climate change. When you garden with native plants suitable to our mid-coast region, you enhance your gardens with Maine’s natural beauty and you create a personal connection to the natural habitats beyond your yard.
This Corner will feature a different Maine native plant with each issue in the upcoming months. Each featured native plant is suited for enhancing our St. George landscapes.—Jan Getgood
(Getgood is a retired native plant nursery owner living in St. George, where she continues to advocate for conserving native plants in the wild and promotes propagating regionally appropriate native plants to enhance diversity in our gardens.)
Commonly known as anise hyssop, blue giant hyssop, or lavender hyssop, Agastache foeniculum is an upright, clump-forming herbaceous perennial of the mint family.
This native hyssop grows to 2’-4’ tall and is noted for its mid- to late summer bloom of lavender to purple flowers and the anise scent of its foliage. The lovely blooms are showy, cylindrical, terminal spikes of lavender flowers and are very, VERY attractive to bees, hummingbirds, butterflies and other pollinator insects.
Anise hyssop is easily grown in average, dry to medium moist, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Good soil drainage is essential. Plants will spread by rhizomes and will easily self seed in optimum growing conditions. Aromatic leaves of anise hyssop can be incorporated into herbal teas or jellies.