Wednesday, July 24, 2013

July's Wildflower Wednesday

We are now experiencing the time of the season I always look forward to, with so many plants in bloom, but now that it's here, I'm not ready for so many to be finishing up like they are.  It sure has been hot and dry.  It was good to get almost an inch of rain this morning.  While walking around, I decided to do my Wildflower Wednesday post, hosted by Gail, of Clay and Limestone, on the different Mountain mints I have.

This first one, which is growing on the east side of our house, is not native to Nebraska, but to states south of us.  The USDA Plant Database calls it Clustered mountain mint.  Other sources call it what I do, Short-toothed mountain mint, Pycnanthemum muticum.

Here's a closer look at it.  This one has not spread as much as the others here.  It does develop roots along the stems that end up on the ground in the spring.  I have been picking them up, and the clump has not gotten larger than I have room for.  Bees and wasps frequent these.

Virginia mountain mint, Pycnanthemum virginianum (with some other letters and words after it) is native in Nebraska.  This one is a spreader, but I read that after a few years, it will calm down and not spread as much, and this one has spread less the last couple of years.  It's on the east side of the vegetable garden.

The pollinators weren't out much yet, since it had just rained, but they love the white blooms of all of the Mountain mints.  These blooms are smaller than the Short toothed ones.

 This Narrowleaf mountain mint, Pycnanthemum tenuifolium Schrad, is another one native to Nebraska.  It's shorter than the Virginia mountain mint.  This one in the west front yard, near the light pole, and I'm not sure what is going on with it.  Parts of it are turning brown, and it's separating in the middle.  It seems to be the favorite of the black wasps.  I hope it's OK.

I have two more photos of this one.

Now, this one is a mystery to me.  It is right next to the sidewalk that goes from the street to the house, and you can see the Joe Pye weed right there.  I am forgetful, and do not remember whether I planted this or not.  I wonder if the different varieties of Mountain mint can cross pollinate.  

I think it's a good looking plant.  The blooms are smaller than Short toothed, and larger than Narrowleaf.

I decided to share a few more wildflowers that are blooming, some of which will be finished by the next Wildflower Wednesday.  Do you see all three bumblebees enjoying the Wild senna?

I have Butter and eggs, a Toadflax of some kind, in a wash tub because it is too much of a spreader here.

The Cup plant is loaded with blooms!

False sunflowers are the first perennial we bought when we moved here.  Larry and I both liked them, and I thought it was cool that they are native to Nebraska.

I'm not sure if this is the same swallowtail caterpillar I saw on a leaf of a Golden Alexander plant, but if it is, it moved to this stem during the day.   I deadheaded these plants last year, hoping they would bloom again, but they didn't, so this year, I have left most of them on, and they are looking good on the plants so far.

I'm glad there are some flowers, like Monarda fistula now blooming that the bees like, because I need to deadhead the Culver's root, which they had been favoring.

This is my first time growing Sweet black eyed susan, and this one bloom has taken a couple days of showing color to start opening.  I am excited to see all of the blooms open.

I hope you are learning more about plants that are native to your areas, and are able to find some to plant.  It sure has been a fun experience for me, although there have been challenges to finding some of the plants I wanted to try.


  1. It sure looks great! I know from my experience that the Sweet Black-eyed Susan didn't too get too big my first year of planting it, but it really took off the second. How long have the False Sunflower plants been living now or are they new plants from volunteer seedlings?

  2. Hi Sue, your mints are wonderful! Thanks for bringing me here to compare my mountain mint with your short toothed one. They do look similar. I will do some more research!

  3. I always enjoy your Wildflower Wednesday posts and this one is no exception. Love, love, love mountain mints. I've got in growing with the Iteas and witch hazels in the Garden of Benign Neglect, but hope to move it up front this fall. I don't think I've ever seen it bare of pollinators! It's a great plant and I am so appreciative of your promoting it. gail

  4. Wonderful, beautiful blooms!
    I keep looking at the Black-eyed Susan - looks like the petals are still in motion and may finish opening at any minute!
    Happy Wildflower Wednesday!
    Lea's Menagerie

  5. You have many of the same plants I do here on the shores of Lake MIchigan. Your Senna is way ahead of mine - no blooms yet! It was nice to visit today. JC

  6. Your short-toothed Mountain Mint certainly is pretty! I may have to reconsider my vow not to plant anything with mint in its name. Love your cup plant! I've tried to start one from seed before with no luck; that is one more native I would love to have in my garden. How are all your new native seedlings doing? Mine are growing slowly; I just hope they don't get swallowed up by the asters and goldenrod this fall.

    Loved your swallowtail pics in the last post!

  7. Great shot of the Wild Senna and the bees! Most of the things you show here are also blooming in my area. Cup Plant and Compass Plant blooms are so similar and so lovely! The Compass Plants were really striking a couple of weeks ago, when I went hiking at a local state park. Your photo with the caterpillar is fun, too!

  8. Hi Sue, it is always delightful to look at your native flowers or maybe weeds. Temperate native plants can be very different in habits than our tropical natives. We cannot just plant what you do in your garden, because they will be spreading heavily and will become our big problems later. It is a good thing that you have winter, when some of them will be controlled. Here, they become perennial and excessively invasive. So i just appreciate them in the wild, or else!

  9. I like mints, with the exception of Lemon Balm. I am tempted to look into the Mountain Mints. The yellow Toadflax is considered a weed in Washington, it comes up by itself in my meadow and I try to discourage it. I like all your information on native plants.

  10. Love your natives! The mountain mint is wonderful, as is the toadflax. I always enjoy visiting your educate me in a fun way, Sue!

  11. I'm sure I've commented on Mountain Mint in previous years, I just love it! And that caterpillar is a beauty! The bee is so cute too.

  12. Great natives, Sue. I love the name of the toadflax - Butter and Eggs - very descriptive :-)

  13. You have quite a collection of mountain mints! Interesting plants. Unfortunately I have not yet found space for them in our garden. Very jealous of your swallowtail caterpillars.

  14. Never realized there were so many kinds of mint, :-) !
    What a lovely and fragrant collection.

  15. I love your mountain mints. I've never grown a single one and really should try them.

    I am much more aware of the bees now and recently I was thinking about cutting back my sprawling Persicaria but the bees go absolutely nuts over the flowers so this makes me think I need to wait. I want the bees to get as much nourishment as they can.

    Great post! Oh and by the way, I'll be posting a closeup photo of a crab spider. Damn thing was eating a honeybee so I took a photo, then killed it, brutal soul that I am. Oh the injustice!


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