Monday, September 7, 2015

Two Solidagos and a Turtle

Well, a Turtle-head. Chelone glabra, White Turtlehead, seems to be having a good year. Not sure if it is a perennial or not, but most years I only see a few along the marsh edge, and this year there are many. One of the best plants is this one:
You can see the water to the left - these things are tricky to photograph if you are wearing sandals. There were actually a number of stems and each had quite a few flowers, but I was reluctant to step into the water. I just did not want to risk sinking to my knees and losing my sandals on the way out! The name, which is a little puzzling, could be a reference to the flowers' profile, but looking at this group of four flowers, I'm wondering if it isn't really a reference to the shape of the flowers as you look straight down on them. Don't you think they look a lot like tiny white turtles heading off to the four different directions?

Chelone glabra, and its (non-native) cousin Chelone lyonii, are both good garden plants. White Turtlehead needs a bit more water - a damp area will keep it happy - while Pink Turtlehead does fine in normal conditions. Both like a sunny spot and both are about 30" tall.

In a shadier area, two Solidagos are starting to bloom. One is S. caesia, Blue-stemmed Goldenrod.

One plant I put near some hostas has filled in beautifully and is starting to show real presence and personality. I love the way the stems arch over to fill their space, and the way the leaves hang down below the flowers. The tiny curls on the ends of the leaves are charming too. S.caesia is easy to grow - a dependable perennial, not fussy except it doesn't like too much sun (half a day, or dappled by a high tree is fine) and not too 'spread-ish'. It does expand, and it does offer a few seedlings now and then, but it is easy to control. A mature plant will be about 2' tall and will fill a space twice that wide.

Solidago flexicaulis, Zig-zag Goldenrod, on the other hand, will attempt to monopolize more real estate than you might wish to allow it.

The plants don't seem to self-seed much, but they keep getting wider... and wider... and wider. You just have to be more determined than it is, and chop it back in the spring. The big thing about this Goldenrod is that it does well in solid shade. The plants are about 18" high, dark green, and healthy looking all summer. In September it is covered with typical Goldenrod flowers held high on ziggy-zaggy stems.

Both of these 'Goldies' are worth having in the garden - interesting form, bright flowers at a time when flowers are becoming scarcer, and extra 'garden points' for having something unusual!

No comments:

Post a Comment