Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Bombs Bursting In Air

     Solidago is also commonly known as Goldenrod.  Now, before you stop reading this article because you feel your eyes watering and your nose starting to tickle from the mere mention of Goldenrod, remember, it’s the Ragweed, not the Goldenrod which causes the allergies.  Besides, Solidago Fireworks is so much more attractive than it’s ragged, roadside relative.
     Solidago Fireworks has its roots in North Carolina, literally.  Back in the 1970’s a plant rescue took place near a motor repair shop in the countryside close to Wilson, NC; the plants were relocated to a coastal display garden.  After a few years an elegant and unique goldenrod became visible catching everyone’s eye with its beautiful yellow sprays.   It was finally introduced in 1993 by Ken Moore of the NC Botanical Garden in Chapel Hill and aptly named ‘Fireworks’
     This plant is very easy to grow, reaching 3 feet in height on thin but strong stems, which remained standing, even after some of the strong storms we had this summer.  It grows well in full sun.  During the summer it makes a great backdrop for summer blooming perennials, creating a strong contrast with its dark green foliage.  In late summer the flower clusters begin to form.  By September the clusters, radiating in all directions, are bright yellow and look like the glittering trail from exploding fireworks. 
     People aren’t the only ones who find this plant a great addition to the garden.  Migrating butterflies load up on the nectar as they start their fall migration, bees rely on the pollen to build up their winter stores and finches and sparrows love the seeds.  To top it off, it’s deer resistant.
     I leave my Solidago up for most of the winter.  The stalks will be bare, but the brown flower clusters are still attractive and give some texture to the winter garden.  Around February, I cut it down to the ground where you will notice a small evergreen patch, waiting for spring to arrive.

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