Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Goldenrod Monster Returns!

Solidago altissima, Tall Goldenrod, is one weed I've come to love over the years. This plant originally sprung up in the middle of a small butterfly bush I used to have. My views on what plants to keep in the garden and what not changed so I got rid of the butterfly bush but kept the goldenrod. Never in my wildest dreams did I expect it to get 13' tall. In a way though that's a good thing. Even when the canes fall over they still stand 4' off the ground (left). 

Because of it's height I find it's best viewed from a ladder or second story window. I could see even placing it next to a shed for some close up action. The greenhouse there is not strong enough for my weight sadly.

This isn't really one plant per-say. There's no massive rhizome in the middle of all this that I know of. Really those are all canes coming up from the root system. They're easy enough to simply pull out of the ground where annoying. Canes that fall in the way of the path can simply be cut, there are plenty of them after all, and allowed to flower from offshoots that form below. 

Each year it tries to spread out in farther but I find it easy enough to pull those canes out or stab them with a shovel. People who work on prairie restorations typically don't like goldenrods, that is to say to many of them, because they have a habit of taking over. I'm not sure what effects fire or grazing having on goldenrods but I'm sure something must keep it in check.

S. altissima blooms much later than most other plants. It would be the latest flowering thing in my garden if not for a single white flowering Chrysanthemum that keeps coming back.

New England Asters seem to be a richer nectar source and all the honeybees are favoring that over the goldenrod. That's going to change tough by the end of the week when the asters all stop blooming. This goldenrod will be flowering into November before it's done.

For now thought it's all you can eat for the bumblebees and butterflies.

This is the first year I've noticed Monarchs going for the goldenrod. It's not one that I raised and released. They certainly favor the New England Asters too but like I said that will be done blooming by the end of the week.

One bad thing about this goldenrod is it's height makes taking pictures a little tricky.