is often loathed because it spreads aggressively.
however, is quite different.
fact, there is much to like about mountain-mint,
according to native plant expert Helen Hamilton of
it attracts bees and butterflies. Secondly, it does not
spread aggressively. Thirdly, deer dislike it. Lastly,
its small white flowers are tightly clustered on the
ends of stems and smartly structured so wasps and other
short-tongued insects can easily feed on it, she says.
common name "mountain-mint" does not refer to
its mountainous origin, according to Hamilton.
are two perennial versions of mountain-mint that home
gardeners throughout the eastern and central regions of
the United States and Canada might like to grow,
according to Hamilton. In southeastern Virginia, where
winter was unusually harsh and snowy, especially in
February, mountain-mints returned with a flourish this
spring and summer.
mountain-mint (P. tenuifolium) has narrow leaves and an
elegant airy look. It produces small white to lavender
flowers that appear in dense clusters at the ends of
slender, hairless stems.
mountain-mint, P. tenuifolium muticum, has dark green
leaves that are wider and smell like spearmint when
crushed, Hamilton explains. Each flower cluster bears
striking silvery leaf-like bracts at the base, and the
plant looks like its dusted with snow.
mountain- mints are ideal for pollinator gardens because
they attract a variety of insects looking for nectar,
including bees and the great black wasp.
are easy to grow in the home garden, in full sun or part
shade," says Hamilton.
black wasps look menacing but they are not aggressive
their name reflects their large size, up to 35 mm or
1½-inches long, according to Hamilton.
is a stunning large wasp with a satiny black body and
smoky-black wings that have a shiny blue
iridescence," she says.
throughSeptember, wasps of many kinds cuckoo wasps,
bee wolves, potter wasps and grass-carrying wasps
seek nectar on flowers, especially mountain-mints,
milkweeds, goldenrods, common boneset and rattlesnake
need a lot of the nectar for the carbohydrates and water
that sustain their activities over the summer," she
the sole purpose of the male is to achieve mating, the
female must build and provision a nest, lay eggs and
raise the young. Males do not have stingers, but females
will sting if their nest is disturbed."
black wasps (Sphex pensylvanicus) and their relatives
are beneficial insects, controlling the numbers of
grasshoppers, locusts and cicadas that feed on farm
crops and garden plants. The wasps are common in the
eastern United States, and can be found where their prey
lives: meadows, pastures and yards.