Iron Maiden

Ironweed & bees in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer

Ironweed & company (photo credit: Kathy Diemer)

Our native ironweed, Vernonia noveboracensis, is an extraordinary beauty with massive deep violet blooms atop stems that can reach over 5 feet tall; standing as proudly in your garden as she does in the local meadow.  Like Lady Liberty, vernonia carries her purple torches high to illuminate late summer gardens filled with golden rudbeckia and mauve eupatorium.  A member of the aster family, this gypsy roams the east coast from Massachusetts to Florida, spreading happiness to the local bees and butterflies along the way.  Because she can tolerate dry soils as easily as wet, ironweed is happy to settle in any area with enough sun and room to accommodate her spreading nature, but remains quite mannerly in a formal border setting as well. [Read more…]

Late Bloomers

Helianthus 'Lemon Queen' in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer

Helianthus ‘Lemon Queen’ and friend (photo by Kathy Diemer)

I don’t know about you, but I was a late bloomer.  I remember hounding my poor mother daily for a “training bra” and anxiously awaiting the day I would start menstruating.  A few decades later, I couldn’t wait for it all to be over.  Then, instead of moving on to a heavenly (and much deserved) phase of womanhood, I’m stuck in what I call the hot and dry spell.  But I digress.  Some late bloomers actually aren’t so traumatized, in fact when it comes to flowering plants, being a late bloomer is actually a good thing . . . Imagine that!  Late blooming perennials start up when all other plants have wound down for the season, giving us another few months of color and texture before winter comes calling.  Following are some reliable, long blooming plants to add interest during the season’s finale: [Read more…]

A Garden for All