Mirage Bicolor Rose Sage blooms now through October, is edible and attracts many beneficials!
With herbs, the first thing that comes to mind is often their flavour and fragrance. But so many herbs are incredible bloomers too! These flowers can add gorgeous colour to gardens and pots, while often being edible themselves, and definitely up-ing your pollinator-friendly gardening game. So, I thought I'd share some of our favourite herbal flowers with you.
Somehow these remarkable herbs often fly under the radar. Perhaps it is because there are both hardy and non-hardy types (so maybe confusing) or the fact that some only bloom later in the season; but if there is one category of flowering herb we love at Sage Garden, this is it! Most have delicious liquorice or lemon-scented foliage that makes for great tea.
Anise Hyssop and its close Manitoba native cousin, Giant Hyssop, are spectacular for their fragrance and purple flower spikes!
Anise Hyssop 'Golden Jubilee' is one of the few herbs that thrives in part shade, and you'll love the liquorice-scented foliage and bee-magnet purple flowers from July through September.
Mexican Lemon Hyssop (above), Agastache Bolero, Agastache Globetrotter and Agastache Sunset all deliver remarkable spires of colourful, fragrant blooms from August well into fall. Each has its own distinctive and delicious aroma, foliage colour and bloom colour - and all are beloved by hummingbirds, butterflies, bees and smaller beneficials such as native ladybugs.
Many showy alliums are in fact culinary, including the Millennium selection (shown below). Culinary classics such as Garden Chives also have gorgeous blooms! We are loving the recently introduced White One's Chive, which is an onion chive with pure white flowers in early summer. Pollinators LOVE alliums!
Truly one of the best herbs for diverse styles, aromas and uses. Top marks go to African Blue Basil for bloom power, as the abundant purple flowers are sterile and never set seed... creating a dramatic and aromatic cloud of pollinator activity that lasts all summer. Other basils with particularly attractive flowers include Cardinal Basil (pictured above), the various Thai Basils and Purple Tulsi Basil. Although gardeners commonly learn to pinch off the flowers from their basil (and other annual herbs), leaving blooms on these attractive selections opens up new uses and visual appeal.
Who doesn't love a relaxing cup of chamomile tea with honey... and it is easy to grow your own! German Chamomile is the most prolific type for flower harvest and the white and yellow blooms contribute a soft, cottage garden tone to the landscape. We offer a high-yielding strain called Zloty-Lan.
June is lavender month, as these plants really get going around Solstice. Many gardeners seek out the hardiest Munstead and Hidcote types, which are often perennial outdoors in southern Manitoba; however, trying warmer-climate types in pots opens up many aromatic and colourful possibilities. Ladybugs, bees, hoverflies, hummingbirds and butterflies are all particularly attracted to the nectar.
Oregano (especially this type!)
Once you've gone Kent Beauty, there is no turning back! The cascades of flowering brackets are a delight right through to August, and bees can't resist. We currently have the related Barbara Tingely and Kirigami oreganos in stock, with another crop of classic Kent Beauty coming along. Sages
We could (or maybe should!) have a whole post on the diverse Sages, but persistent highlights include Hotlips Sage (first picture, below), Painted Sage with its intensely colourful bracts (Google it!) and the various California Sages we offer.The plant pictured below is an example of a Californian Sage, called Allan Chickering. Blooms happen in later summer and last well into fall. These plants have incredibly aromatic leaves all season and can be wintered indoors if you want to keep them through to next year. Another amazing example of a California Sage is White Sage. Thymes
Perfectly suited to pots, raised beds and regular in-ground gardens, creeping thymes come in many styles and bloom across a wide timeframe each season. Thyme flowers contain nectar that native ladybugs LOVE! Toothache Plant
Oooh, this is a fun plant! The leaves actually do contain a mouth-numbing compound but many people grow it for the unique flowers and trailing foliage. The variety currently available at Sage has purple foliage which creates extra contrast against the yellow and red button flowers.