Home of the Practically Perfect Pink Phlox and other native plants for pollinators

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Some of my favorite wildflowers are pasture weeds


Take Ironweed for instance, the University of Tennessee even has a fact sheet and refers to this leggy beauty as a troublesome weed. It seems that it's not tasty to cows and if it's growing in a pasture the cows must spend more time looking for grass and that means less grazing! Of course there's a term for this~~grazing inefficiency.

Naturally they recommend using herbicides to eradicate it.
Goldenrod, Callirhoe involucrata, common evening primrose, Tradescantia ohiensis, violets, 
Eupatorium capillifolium and Salvia lyrata are also on the weed list. They're all rough and tumble wildflowers favorites at Clay and Limestone.

 
I have a special place in my heart for these wild and rough looking beauties that are frequently found growing in meadows, prairies, roadside ditches and pastures. I appreciate plants that haven't had their best characteristics bred out of them. They're beautiful, they're doing the job nature intended them to do: make a lot of nectar and pollen and bloom for a long time, exactly when the critters need both.

Stay tuned for more late summer/fall rough and tumble beauties, the season is just beginning.

xoxogail

Gail Eichelberger is a gardener and therapist in Middle Tennessee. She loves wildflowers and native plants and thoroughly enjoys writing about the ones she grows at Clay and Limestone. She reminds all that the words and images are the property of the author and cannot be used without written permission.

10 comments:

  1. I too grow Ironweed from the pasture. I experimented with pruning practices this spring as the plant would flop in my high nutrient soil. I had 3 large plants and cut one in half around May. As they have began to bloom presently the non pruned plant are flopping whereas the pruned plant is not and is blooming just as much. It’s half the height. Also I purchased a Verona Iron Butterfly and it is a superb plant, reminds me of a Amsonia with dark purple blooms.

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  2. I don't have Ironweed here--I don't think I have enough sun for it. But I love it, and I've noticed that the pollinators flock to it when it's blooming. Such a beautiful color, too, and it's complementary to the bright yellows of the Goldenrods. Many of the other plants you mention are either growing here or up at our other property. They are welcome!

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    1. It grows in shade in my garden. I can save seeds of the one that seems happy in shade for you.

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  3. I love iron weed. It took me several tries to get it to grow in my garden. It got about 4'tall this year. I hope in subsequent years it gets really tall. I don't have to worry about cows grazing here. ;)

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  4. We took a road trip this weekend across Tennessee, and I was admiring the “weedy” roadside the entire time. I didn’t know what those beautiful tall purple flowers were, and was wondering if I could grow them. Now, I’m thinking that is iron weed. Maybe I will try it get some seeds to plant on the wild edge of my yard.

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    1. Let me see if I can find seedlings, Melany.

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  5. I planted a New York Ironweed two years ago (I'm in western NY, near Rochester). It has finally come into it's own and is at least 5 feet tall. I have an over-abundance of deer and they have left this one alone. Bought native plants at a little nursery called Amanda's Garden in Springwater and she does do mail order.
    Pat

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    1. I am glad the dear leave it alone. It's so frsutrating when they chomp on flowers.

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  7. Ironweed has not done especially well in my garden. There's a big clump of it in Lurie, though, and it looks pretty happy.

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Let us be grateful to people who make us happy;
they are the charming gardeners
who make our souls blossom.


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