Don’t Hate Me …

Dwarf Goldenrod w/Sumac in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer

Dwarf Goldenrod with Sumac (photo credit: Kathy Diemer)

…because I’m goldenrod!  Goldenrod gets a bad rap from allergy sufferers all over the country, when in fact the real culprit is ragweed.  The pollen of goldenrod (Solidago sp.) is actually too heavy to become airborne, instead pollination occurs from the traveling insects and butterflies that visit the plants. Ironically, goldenrod is used as a remedy for seasonal allergies; by brewing a tea with a teaspoon of dried flowers in a cup of boiling water.

A wide variety of insects also feed on solidago including bees, wasps, beetles, flies, moths and butterflies.  You may have noticed spherical galls in the stems of goldenrod, these are caused by the goldenrod gall fly (Eurosta solidaginis).  Many birds enjoy the seeds as well, including Eastern Goldfinch and Swamp Sparrow. [Read more…]

Minty Fresh

Calamintha nepeta along a narrow pathway in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer

Calamintha nepeta along a narrow pathway (photo by: Kathy Diemer)

The moment I mention growing mint to some of my gardening associates, their eyes roll back in their head and their teeth grind so hard sparks fly. I swear, even the room temperature seems to rise slightly. “They’re sloppy” one hissed, and “They just take over” another growled through her tightly clenched jaw. Honestly, I don’t know what all the fuss is about, which is why I feel compelled to stand up for these minions of mintdom. After all, what are friends for? [Read more…]

A Garden for All