Anise Hyssop

Anise Hyssop is a magnet for bumblebees, including this Red Tailed Bumblebee

This Anise Hyssop (hysspagastache foeniculum) is in full flower right now and has been a magnet for bumblebees visiting my balcony.

A native of America, the Anise Hyssop is supposed to be frost tender and so is meant to be short-lived in the UK because of this.

However, I’ve had it on the balcony for over 2 years now and, as you can see, it’s  certainly survived the recent harsh winter here. In fact,  it seems so “at home” here it’s started to self seed and I’m now finding new plants popping up in other containers.

Related to the mint family, it grows up to 3ft in height and its tall,  purplish-blue flower spikes act like  “floral neon signs” advertising  their rich sources of nectar to bees and butterflies alike.  Judging by the number of nibbled holes on its leaves , its foliage seems to support a fair few insects too!  When not being eaten by other creatures, the herb’s leaves can also be used in cooking, are reputed to have some medicinal properties  and can make a refreshing tea, too.

In flower from early July until until the end of August  its  attraction to wildlife, alone,  definitely makes it a very worthy addition to the Wildlife Garden Balcony.