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Double Oops

August 10, 2014

goldenrod oopsRecently I wrote (Oops!) about a plant in my new raised bed that was not what it was supposed to be. I had intended to plant Amsonia x ‘Blue Ice’ in this location, and instead had a much larger plant that I tentatively identified as Amsonia tabernaemontana. I assumed that the plant had either been mislabeled at the nursery or that I had inadvertently picked up the wrong plant from the nursery table.

Even as I tentatively identified my mistaken plant as A. tabernaemontana, I had some doubts about that identification. A few weeks ago, those doubts were confirmed when the plant started to make flower buds – definitely not Amsonia flowers (both wrong shape and wrong season). This past week, the flowers began to open and revealed themselves as a native Solidago  (goldenrod).

Goldenrod grows readily on my property, mostly at the edges of the woods. So it is possible that this goldenrod grew from a seed that landed in this flower bed shortly after I created it last August. Because this is growing exactly where I planted the Amsonia plant from the nursery, however, and nowhere else in this flower bed, I think it is more likely that the Solidago seed hitchhiked on the Amsonia plant when I brought it home from the nursery and then simply outcompeted the Amsonia for space and nutrients.

goldenrod & blue paradiseI like using these showy native plants in the garden. This photo, for example, shows goldenrod blooming with Phlox paniculata ‘Blue Paradise’ in the blue and yellow border.  So, although this Solidago plant definitely does not belong in my raised bed, I will be happy to move it to a more suitable location and to replace it with another Amsonia x ‘Blue Ice’ (and this time, I will be on the lookout for hitchhikers!)

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16 Comments leave one →
  1. August 10, 2014 8:52 pm

    Jean that is quite a large goldenrod. I have very tall ones in the meadow and love them. They tend to show up all over the back garden, but it is hard not to love the yellow flowers…love the look with the phlox.

    • August 13, 2014 10:10 pm

      Donna, This plant is growing in a 16″ high raised bed, which makes it seem even taller than it is; but it is a good-sized plant. I think this is probably Solidago rugosa, which can grow up to 6′ tall. It was the very tall Solidago altissima that Buchart Gardens had growing with Joe Pye weed when I was there in late summer a few years ago. I was quite smitten with that combination.

  2. August 10, 2014 10:33 pm

    I can’t tell you how many times I’ve nursed a plant along only to find out it’s some new to me weed! That’s the adventure I guess, and sometimes I learn a new thing or two.

    • August 13, 2014 10:12 pm

      Bittster, I have done that many times too! 🙂 I don’t consider goldenrod a weed (although it gets a bad rap because it often grows with the allergenic ragweed) but a wildflower that is welcome in my garden — just not in this particular location.

  3. August 10, 2014 10:41 pm

    Love that you are using native plants. I need to try more of those!

    • August 13, 2014 10:13 pm

      Diane, Since I came to gardening through a childhood love of wildflowers, it seems only natural to me to incorporate the wildflowers I have long loved into my garden whenever possible.

  4. August 12, 2014 10:48 am

    Golden rod is so gorgeous, and has such a bad reputation. I love it in fields, have never considered using it in a border. I may have to re-think that.

    • August 13, 2014 10:15 pm

      Pat, So many people are convinced that goldenrod causes allergies, when it is actually the much less showy ragweed growing beside it that is the problem for most people. It often surprises North Americans to learn that the native goldenrod that they turn up their noses at is considered a highly desirable cultivated plant in Europe.

  5. August 12, 2014 5:17 pm

    According to the Missouri Botanic Garden website ‘Blue Ice’ and A. tabernaemontana are extremely similar. I have incorrectly thought that ‘Blue Ice’ was just a cultivar of the species (and have identified it as such in posts). Regarding goldenrod, I really love it and grow four different species.

    • August 13, 2014 10:19 pm

      Jason, I have seen ‘Blue Ice’ listed as both a cultivar of A. tabernaemontana and as a hybrid. I think part of the problem is that it’s origins are obscure; if I have the story right, it wasn’t intentionally bred, but just found growing in a greenhouse at White Flower Farm (where they knew a good thing when they saw it!).

  6. August 12, 2014 6:24 pm

    Jean…I have been there with the “hitchhiker” on more than one occasion. A few years ago I ended up with a lime green creeping sedum…still don’t know its correct name…which was a great addition to my family of ground covers. Sometimes they are a real bonus but I still check plants I’m buying because oftentimes the “hitchhiker” is an unwelcome weed!

    • August 13, 2014 10:23 pm

      Kathy, When I used to buy plants from Jean Moss’s home nursery, Perennials Preferred, she would label the hitchhikers as well as the main plant in the clump. This time, I didn’t even notice it; the foliage of Amsonia ‘Blue Ice’ and goldenrod are enough alike that I would have had to be paying extra-special attention to catch this.

  7. August 15, 2014 5:31 am

    Hi Jean, it just goes to show all manner of random things can be imported into a garden. I typically scrape the top layer of soil off an imported plant pot in case there are errant seeds lurking on top. Usually, they’re unwelcome because they will be weed seeds, but you got lucky in your case!

    • August 17, 2014 10:33 pm

      Sunil, You may find it surprising that many people in the United States consider our native Solidagos to be weeds — perhaps because they grow so readily in our climate (at least in the northeast). A friend recently reminded me that i should be sure to either move the Solidago plant out of the bed or deadhead it before it sets seed — or next year, I’ll have a raised bed full of goldenrod.

  8. August 22, 2014 10:57 am

    I have sneaky Solidagos, too! I can never get them to grow where I want them to. There is one in TI Park (where I garden) that I did not “weed” and it is buzzing with an amazing amount of bees and wasps so much so that it has become a sort of tourist attraction! That’s why I let a few sneaky ones grow where they will. You will love that Amsonia. Mine makes a stunning display in Spring against the lime foliage of Creeping Jenny which I am surprised has not smothered it.

  9. August 22, 2014 5:13 pm

    Alas I have lost my Solidago goldenrod and I intend to replace it. Would be great to find a new seedling next year.

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