Each year the International Herb Association (IHA) reports on its chosen Herb of the Year and the herb of 2019 is Anise Hyssop (Agastache foeniculum). This member of the mint family has a wide variety of applications from tea infusions to pollinator attraction in the garden. As a medicinal herb Anise Hyssop is beneficial for digestive function and can help reduce inflammation. The herb is also high in antioxidants and has antimicrobial properties that lend its digestive benefits. The leaves can be used to add flavor to salads, jellies, honey, or distilled spirits for a taste of the garden in your evening cocktail.
In its native ecosystem of North America Anise Hyssop can reach heights of four to five feet with stemmed purple flowers topping the stalks. These bloom in mid to late summer and will self seed readily so be ready for little sprouts in the next season. The benefits of this plants extend beyond their decorative and culinary properties and more is being learned about ancient uses of this herb and how it can be useful in a modern health regimen. The IHA offers a book full of information on the herb of the year that you can check out here if you would like to dig deeper into the soil of the Anise Hyssop (Agastache foeniculum). Pick up a start of a pack of seeds and start growing some Anise Hyssop in your garden this year!
My Dad was an incredible man. He was always supportive of me and my career endeavors. He always told all of us, his children, we could do or be whatever we wanted, as long as we were willing to work hard for our goals. As I prepared to launch my landscaping company nine years ago, he offered to help me. He had no idea of the physical challenges that lay ahead. I already had a design business and as I prepared to leave the landscaping retail designer and manger position I had held for ten years, clients began to emerge that wanted my expertise. I gathered more clients and really needed his help. Our shared appreciation of details and delivering outstanding customer service meshed well as we built my business. It was not always smooth sailing. My dad and I are fiery individuals and we fought and laughed our way through many jobs.
Sweating in the sweltering heat of Indiana summers and dressing in layers in spring and fall we gained confidence and grew stronger physically but also built a lovely closeness that I couldn’t have imagined when I was younger. During one particularly hot week with temperatures and humidity in the 90’s he said “I think it’s not that bad out today.” I said “really Dad??” We were sweating like we had taken a shower but had only just started our work. Dad had no experience to prepare him for using his physical body more than his incredible intelligence. During his first radiation appointment with Dr. Chang, the doctor looked at Dad, Jeff, and I, wearing our turquoise J. Lynne Associates polo shirts, dirty and sweating, Dr. Chang then asked Dad “why do you look so good?” ( While he was so ill.)
He was up for many challenges and I grew to rely on his constant steady strength and excellent problem solving. One of my fondest challenges was moving a huge evergreen tree, weighing more than one hundred and fifty pounds up a ninety degree incline with Jeff pulling and us pushing. At one point Jeff wanted to stop and both Dad and I shouted “NO!” We knew we would have rolled down the hill with the tree. When we cut electric power lines lying close to the ground, I would have called an electrician to fix the outdoor lights, but Dad said “it’s no problem.” He knew how to fix it and usually made it better than it was before we began, by leveling lamp posts, touching up paint, and staking lights during our installations. When clients had things that needed tending to, I would have suggested they call and expert, but Dad quietly fixed those things as he worked.
He had a ‘can do’ attitude about solving problems and actually loved adversity. I have grown use to using his razor sharpened tools with freshly painted handles that he took such pride in renewing for us every season. When I purchased a weed torch Dad was the first one to fire it up. He loved using new tools. I once accidentally warped a small piece of siding at a client’s house using the torch. We offered to repair the damage and our client laughed so loud it took us by surprise. Dad worked last spring in 2018, driving the truck for us even though he could hardly walk (anemia was taking away his strength). Alex, a young man in his early 20’s, who works for me, adored my Dad. He loved his stories and admired his strength and humor. He told me how watching my Dad out work him many times made him want to increase his own strength. He is working on that now.
My Dad would often tell people proudly that he worked for his daughter, who owns her own landscaping company, and “I am her #1 hole digger!” Of course, he was so much more than this, but his pride was evident in his warm smile and twinkling eyes.
Each year the members of the Perennial Plant Association vote to decide their Perennial Plant of the Year and in 2019 they have chosen Stachys ‘Hummelo’ (Stachys officinalis). While not a native this plant can still serve as a wonderful addition to any planting garden to bring in pollinators and add a spark of purple color throughout mid summer. Pollinators are drawn to the striking magenta flowers that rise above bright green, trouble-free foliage. ‘Hummelo’ was the highest rated Stachys in the Chicago Botanic Garden Evaluation Trials for its strong flower production, vigor, habit, quality and winter hardiness making it a great option for planting use. This colorful and compact winner fits excellently into the full sun perennial border and is terrific when combined with ornamental grasses, Echinacea purpurea, and Asclepias tuberosa (2018 Perennial Plant of the Year®).
A large part of the work of a gardener who chooses to work with native plants involves combating the encroachment of the many invasive species that have been introduced to the environment over the past few centuries. Presently the Natural Resource Commission is adopting a rule that will prohibit and restrict the introduction, sale, distribution and transport of invasive terrestrial plants into Indiana. This is a big step toward keeping our ecosystem as close to its original state as possible and gives the native plants a little leg up in the struggle against these aggressive invading species that tend to take over whole habitats. A list of the 44 prohibited invasive terrestrial plants can be found on the INCR website linked here.
Along with this legislative motion the Indiana Invasive Species Council is pushing to have the Callery pear and it’s approximately 20 cultivars and varieties added to that list. The Callery pear was not expected to be an invasive species but with the introduction of more varieties the trees started to cross pollinate and produce viable seed which has lead to the extensive spread of these species. Bad smelling flowers, messy fruit, and branches prone to breakage all add up to this being a poor choice for Indiana gardeners and homeowners.
The IISC has compiled a list of native Indiana trees that support songbirds, butterflies, and pollinators of all kinds with similar aesthetic value as the Callery pear but without all the mess and headache. Some of these native alternatives include Downy Serviceberry (Amelanchier arborea), Flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida), and Green Hawthorn (Crataegus viridis). The IICS website is a treasure trove of information so a trip through there is a must do for a true Indiana gardener.
We here at J. Lynne Associates are thrilled that our Indiana government is taking steps to protect our native plants and wildlife!
As the season begins to slowly warm and the plants prepare to bloom, we start to see the green earth spring back to life. This beauty happens naturally where the earth has been left to grow. There are many places where people find themselves in modern times that lack a substantial amount of natural growing area. It is up to us to bring the spring greenery to our concrete areas and therefore more beauty into our lives. One of the best ways to increase the amount of native beauty in our modern living spaces is by including planters into the design of these spaces. Planters can be large scale, like the ones we installed here, that decorate the facade of the Three Rivers Food Co-op, Fort Wayne, IN, or they can be smaller to fit beside front doorways. The possibilities of using planters are as vast as the designs of planters themselves.
Our aim of landscaping design is to increase the amount of functional native beauty around us. Using planters can add interest, especially in difficult to grow places. Our team at J. Lynne Associates has the knowledge and experience necessary to design and cultivate planters with the health and sustainability of the plants in mind. Contact us to discuss how planters could be implemented into your landscape and therefore increase your enjoyment in these places.
This month Judith will be giving a presentation at Fort Wayne’s Sophia’s Portico on the use of native plants in gardens. This program will briefly touch on the origin of ideas about gardens which come mainly from Europe. You will learn how to help our environment with native plants and will be enticed to plant these wonderfully effective, functional members of our region. Come discover the interactions between plants and insects which hold keys to supporting our pollinators. Fall is a great time to learn how to be apart of this environmentally friendly growing trend.
The presentation costs $15 to attend and will be held on October 17 from 7:00 to 9:00 pm.
Here are 3 Before & After collages of three properties we worked on this past season. We hope these give you a good idea on our work so you can decide if you want the hand of J. Lynne Associates dressing your home. Send us an email through our Contact Page if you like what you see and would like to start planning a project!