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?

  1. Loretta Torraville says:

    I have a huge Joe Pye Weed that’s been teeming with Red Admirals for a couple of months.Not too many around now though;further north than you in Newfoundland ,

  2. Deborah B says:

    My Joe Pye weed is still blooming strong, and also bronze fennel. I like to cut the fennel back about now, to avoid having 10,000 bronze fennel babies in the garden next year, but I have been delaying because the bees and wasps love it so. And I always look carefully first for any swallowtail caterpillars.

  3. Karen Budnick says:

    I have swarms of the little Skipper butterflies that are loving my Autumn Joy this year. I don’t remember seeing so many before.

  4. Jason says:

    Excellent pictures as always. In my garden it’s mostly the asters and goldenrods that are the center of pollinator activity, though they are only just now barely beginning to bloom.

    1. margaret says:

      You’re right, Jason: the composites or whatever the daisy-like flowers are called are all abuzz, too. Lots of action still in the garden!

  5. Bev says:

    I have a small patch of well-behaved mountain mint (pycnanthemum muticum), which is covered with bees this time of year. I sometimes find them nestled in the blossoms early in the morning, dew covering their fuzzy little bodies, waiting for the warmth of the sun to dry them.

  6. Amy says:

    Native asters,Symphyotrichum novae-angliae, they are not umbellifers but at this time of year they are in bloom and the bees love them. Of course, sedums. My Vera Jameson sedum is covered with bees.

  7. Dahlink says:

    I have whined here before about the garlic chives that have spread all over my terrace, coming up between the stones (impossible to get out!) However, I can almost forgive all when they are in bloom, as they are right now. They even make a good cut flower, if you put them some place where the mild garlic scent won’t be obtrusive.

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