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Saturday, September 06, 2008

Colts foot, horseradish, and Jerusalem artichokes, OH NO!

Occasionally I pass along tidbits of information to my grown kids. They are titled:
"Things My Mother Never Told Me."

Here comes another one. I want to be sure, none of you make this mistake and have to deal with what I'm battling.

Previous Owner apparently collected plants from the wild and introduced them into this property. I suspect she didn't know anything about them other than they were charming or pretty. When we closed the sale of Crocker Croft, I remember her replying to Husband/Best Friend/Chief Photographer when he said, "Thank you for growing all the flowers." She said, "You may not thank me."

Over the years there have been several times "I did not thank her". We now have the Colts Foot, horseradish, and Jerusalem Artichokes under control, but I have to watch for them as they still make sneak-appearances here and there. The ironweed and goldenrod are an ongoing battle. As long as I can get help, we will use a heavy hand with them. There are enough escapees to still make beautiful, complementary vibrant purple and gold patches here and there.

The tip: Never collect goldenrod from the wild and plant in flower beds, unless you know what you're doing - that is - you can identify the species, know its habits, and are sure that is what you want. Beautiful as it is, you'd be planting labor intensive trouble. There are better-behaved goldenrods available on the market.

Wild Goldenrod half open.

It spreads by seeds and strong aggressive roots. The roots are tinted a purplish red on some sections, so are Ironweed roots, and those of our wild white asters.

Full Bloom

Interesting how the colors of spring and autumn are frequently yellow and purple, which are complimentary contrasting colors.

Wild Goldenrod and New England Asters

Iron Weed (Vernonia altissima)has a rich vibrant color. This photo does not do the color justice. To see it in 'person', it nearly puts your eyes out.

It, too, spreads by seed and roots that are as strong and aggressive as Goldenrod, if not more so. It can grow very tall, as this one has that is beside a water tap which is used frequently. It is beautiful in the garden. Just be sure you understand what you are getting when you plant it. You can see this one better if your click on the photo and make it larger.

Goldenrod and butterfly


Cinj said...

Goldenrod is pretty, but I'd know better than to buy any. Mom is allergic to it, she'd probably choke me if I purposely planted it on my property. LOL.

Mother Nature said...

I know what you mean. When we moved in our home there was a patch of Queen Annes Lace in the front flower bed that took forever to irradicate.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the info on Ironweed. That was a plant I was considering planting but your post made me rethink that. I have a cultivated form of Goldenrod in my garden and it isn't aggressive.

Muddy Boot Dreams said...

We just came back from the Okanagan, and practically the only wildflowers blooming on the road sides this time of year are goldenrod and asters. Very hardy and drought tolerant. Also very pretty, but like you said, invasive!

Ewa said...

This is so good that you touched the subject. Just next to me there is an abandoned garden - at this season one can see what may happen if Solidago canadensis is not under control. It is invasive here in Poland and definately not native, but feels much better around that many native species. I am constantly battling with it in my garden.

Roses and stuff said...

It's so easy to get carried away when you see a pretty flower. But, as you say, you should get some information of the plant before bringing it into your garden. I've got that yellow one in the wild part of my garden. As long as it says there, I'm happy.

Barbarapc said...

My big mistake was leaving milkweed when a little volunteer presented itself. While the monarchs do love it - it spreads by leaps and bounds - who needs seeds when you have a root system that more efficient than a maple - I swear I'm going to find it poking out from under the sofa one of these days!

Barbee' said...

Cinj (Wisconsin, U.S.A.): If your area is like mine, there is enough growing wild to enjoy without having to put it in your garden :)

Mother Nature (Tennessee, U.S.A.): Changing houses can be a problem for gardeners who do not like what is there already. I heard of an older couple selling their house that had a wonderful rose garden of twenty-five rose plants. The buyers had them all taken out and sod put in. :(

pgl (Virginia, U.S.A.): Those cultivated varieties of Goldenrod are wonderful. The ironweed could be deadheaded to prevent seeds (maybe?), I just never get it all done. For a gardener who is on top of the work, maybe it wouldn't be so bad. The roots are not difficult to remove if the soil is not hard clay. Some is in one of my beds with soft soil, I can follow the roots by touch and get them out. It is just a matter of how much time one has to devote to the plant. It is beautiful. Also, I know some plants can be cut back a few times before July keeping them shorter and they still bloom. (New England asters come to mind.) Ironweed might could be managed like that. Or, plant into a pot, and bury the pot in the garden. That should slow it down a lot, and may keep it smaller. I don't want to be the cause of you missing out on a plant that you might can manage better than I can.

Muddy Boot Dreams (British Columbia, Canada): I love seeing the asters that are growing wild. There are so many different kinds. I have the New England asters, but the only wild one here is the one with tiny white blooms. I am not sure which one it is. I have wondered if it is the one that goes by the common name Frost Aster. If not, it is very similar.

ewa (Poland): Even though the introduced plants are frequently lovely, it is sad when they are much more vigorous than the indigenous plants that are native to that area. The natives don't have a chance to survive and it is only a matter of time till they are gone. I do not think people do it on purpose, I think they just do not have enough information.

Roses and stuff (Sweden): Yes, it is easy to get carried away and swayed by beauty! Isn't it wonderful how these days we can just go to the computer and find all kinds of information about certain plants. We are so lucky to have so much information at our fingertips as the saying goes. We have a great advantage over gardeners of even a few years ago. When computers were new, I began to hear of farmers using computers. I had never used one and I thought: what in the world do they do with computers! Now I know. Just getting the weather forecast is a great help to them, plus all the other facets of computer benefits.

Barbarapc (Canada): That is good information to share. I was tempted to plant some, but now I know it is better to plant other forms of milkweed such as Asclepias. I think it was your post which I read that "enlightened" me. I surely don't want it poking out from under my sofa, either! :)

James said...

I have an empy acre field in the back that, when not cut, becomes filled with nothing but goldenrod. It's quite breathtaking, and the bees abosultely love it. Still, it can be impossible to get rid of. One of those love-hate plant relationships, I guess.

Barbee' said...

James (Louisiana, U.S.A.): Hi there! Yes, I think you got that exactly right. I wonder if any grazing animals eat it. I have no idea. Alan at Roberts Roost wrote that his goats eat ironweed.

our friend Ben said...

Hi Barbee'! I have lots of native goldenrod in my Cultivated Wild Meadow, so I know what you mean (mercifully it's never made the jump to my garden beds). The shade-loving goldenrods in my backyard are much better-behaved. Believe it or not, my horseradish has remained in the two original clumps, and I'm happy to have it. And yes, for years I've thought about planting Jerusalem artichokes (I'm just fascinated with perennial veggies) and have only refrained because I keep hearing about their invasive tendencies. I could also relate to your comment about the unfortunate couple whose rosebushes were leveled in favor of lawn. I fear that's the fate that awaits all us passionate gardeners, unless we (or our heirs) are lucky enough to find buyers who also love to garden. All the more reason to love our gardens while we still have them!

Barbee' said...

ourfriendben (Pennsylvania, U.S.A.): I am happy to learn you have well behaved golden rod near the house that you can enjoy. This invasive wild species is pretty, but I have trouble enjoying it because I know its personality and demeanor. We have kept this horseradish to one clump, but it is there for eternity. I don't know how many determined, cocky young college men have attacked it and vowed that he "got it all this time", but of course the least bit of root regenerates the plant. I have decided to just give up on it. We never use it, but perhaps the next owners will be glad to have it.

We bought this place from an avid gardener, and I could tell she was relieved to learn I am a gardener. I frequently ponder the future of this garden. I have no problem with the idea of future owners changing the plants out, but am very much bothered by the idea that they will use chemicals, and do other things that will destroy the earth worms and bacteria that I have fed and nurtured all these years that make wonderful rich soil which I have worked so hard to... I want to say 'create', but of course, I know I didn't create it. I just gave nature a helping hand and let it happen. One neighbor calls me the Mulch Queen.