Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Glowing Golden...rod

I love goldenrod. Solidago species of all shapes and sizes. Those bright yellow, frilly looking native flowers that bloom in the fall and get (wrongly) blamed for everyone's hayfever symptoms. Like milkweeds, they seem to have an entire mini-ecosystem of insects affiliated with them, plus they just brighten the landscape.

On our 7+ acres of "wild" land, I've found at least 3 species growing naturally:

Canada goldenrod (Solidago canadensis)
Prairie goldenrod (Solidago missouriensis)
Stiff goldenrod (Solidago rigida).

As I've been planting my garden beds, I've been adding varieties that I find in local nurseries. I currently have 6, maybe 7, planted in the flower beds:
Little Lemon goldenrod (a hybrid)
Wichita Mountains goldenrod (a variety of goldenrod collected in the Wichita Mountains of SW Oklahoma...but I've not been able to find a species name for it)
Golden Baby goldenrod (a variety of S. canadensis)
Gray goldenrod (S. nemoralis)
Stiff goldenrod (S. rigida)
Elmleaf goldenrod (S. ulmifolia).
I have one more variety in the beds that may or may not be Golden Baby - I planted two of them the first fall we were here and I lost the labels.... Hopefully I'll be able to identify them when they bloom this year.

Anyway, the first of my goldenrods is blooming already - (drum roll, please!) - and the summer speed demon is...Little Lemon! Here's a photo of the blooms taken from above:

The flowers remind me (rather appropriately, for this time of year) of bursting fireworks. The plants themselves are very dense - I put 3 in about a foot apart from each other, and now I wish I'd planted them farther apart, or even placed them separately. They've grown taller than advertised - these are about 22" tall now, rather than the 8-12" max height that they are labeled to attain, and I've done absolutely nothing special except plant them. Of course, they could be on "steroids" from the nursery-added fertilizer. We'll see how they do next year. Meanwhile, I'm enjoying their golden glow.
Beware. I'm likely to bore you with shots of other golden beauties as the summer moves on.

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