This is veronicastrum virginicum, otherwise know as Culver’s Root (a name I’m not sure is much better). In my yard, it might as well just be known as “bumble bee bush” or some such thing.
I really didn’t even want to disturb the work of the bees but every spike of flowers–and these spikes begin blooming in late June and go on for at least a month or more!–had 3 or 4 bumble bees of different sizes plus smaller bees.
This one even had one of these glorious golden digger wasps! (look on the lower right of the spike in the foreground). I didn’t know they came in for pollen. I watched it for quite some time. Rather than buzzing from flower spike to flower spike, it just walked. Fascinating!
A word of caution about this plant–it towers about six feet in my garden so it’s not for the well-behaved gardener. In fact, this is in what I used to call my “wildlife garden.” Things have grown so well that I now just refer to it as the “Wild” garden (although the pollinators love it!)
is this plant some type of mint? I have tons of mint and the bees just love it, they love my sea hollies too
This particular plant is not in the mint family but I know what you mean about the bees loving plants in the mint family! I have catmint and they just adore it–I can’t even get near it to cut it back! Even sage and salvia, which you don’t normally think of as mint family plants (but they are–you can tell by the square stems)–when they bloom, they’re covered with bees in my garden down to the last bloom.
But aren’t we lucky to have the bees? I hear so many gardeners lamenting the fact that they see so few bees in their gardens. Let’s celebrate what we have!
Thanks so much for reading and commenting.
yeawe have tons of bees including my hubbys hives too, he inadveratedly was sent an africanized queen and so that hive was very aggressive, so he requeened with a gentle bee and in a few weeks the bad ones will die off and the nice ones will be dominate and I won’t have to mow really fast near them, lol. we couldn’t figure out why his bees kept dying over winter and he had to keep ordering new hives when it dawned on us we have been getting queen bees from texas, they were hybrid african and thus couldn’t survive our winters (thank god for that!) they didnt bother me today when Imowed near them, so I guess I will be okay.
Oh how lovely, you raise bees! That’s great. I’d love to do so but we have all sorts of wildlife in our yard including bears and I’d be afraid they’d just destroy the hives on me.
I think I did read (or hear–I do go to lectures on bees all the time–I guess you could say I’m a “wanna-bee”–but I want to understand as much as possible about the ones that come naturally to my yard so I don’t accidentally do anything to harm them!) that almost all the bees in Texas have become “Africanized” so I think you’ve got it exactly right. I hope things settle down for you a bit now.
Thanks so much for sharing that!
The purple spikes are nice. I am starting to see a few bees, thought not as many as last year.
You’ve even had a wet spring down there, haven’t you? I wonder if that has inhibited some of your bee population? Ours was very wet and cool (hard to remember that now!) and the bees were very slow to come around but thankfully now I’m seeing just as many as ever!
Thanks for reading and commenting!
Ooh, I didn’t know this had a purple variety, I’d only seen the white previously! The month-long bloom time clinched it, though. I’ll be looking for a fall shipper for this stately beauty. Thanks for the article; I always enjoy your pieces!
Thanks for your kind words–and for reading! You’re quite correct the white variety is the more common. I was lucky enough to find this at the garden center where I happened to be working at the time–one of my co-workers told me how much she loved it. I have so many plants in my garden that date back to my days in retail gardening–very fond memories despite the way I sometimes might talk about it on the blog!
I think you can tell from the look of the plant that it would be a long bloomer because of those spikes. And if you deadhead you’ll get an even longer bloom. I’m not as good about that as I should be–I know the bees can use all the help they can get so I should be more proactive about that!