umbellifer time: angelica gigas, sedum and more
I ALMOST LOST MY COLONY of Angelica gigas this last non-winter and dry spring/summer, but various species of bees and wasps and other insects are very glad I didn’t. The Korean angelica, a biennial with unearthly wine-colored flowerheads, is just one of the primary pit stops abuzz right now in the late-summer garden–and many of them are in the family that’s variously called Umbelliferae or Apiaceae. (Does that latter name remind you, perhaps, of the word apiary…as in bees? No coincidence!).
I love August and September: The gardening is positively humming. Besides bees and their kin, the hummingbirds are here in bigger numbers–at least for a fleeting moment longer–as individuals from farther north stop in, en route south to winter headquarters. Katydids and crickets, rubbing together wings together, add to the chorus that’s so distinct from the one of spring (mostly bird sounds here, then) or early summer (frogs galore, and birds) or the muffled season of winter.
Unfancy plants such as garlic chives (Allium tuberosum, above) keep showing off, along with parsley (another umbellifer I’ve let bolt for the bugs’ delight), and so do many of the late-blooming sedums, which are likewise like landing pads. Sedum telephium cultivars (below) such as ‘Morhchen’ and ‘Matrona’ and even the old standby ‘Autumn Joy’ (umbellifers all, just like the garlic chives and parsley) are positive magnets. Love it! Anything umbel-like alive with visitors over there at your place?