A recent post from my good friend, gardener and blogger, Gail Eichelberger, poses the question, What’s wrong with goldenrod? She then swiftly answers, Nothing!
I couldn’t agree more. Here is one of my favorite, if not THE favorite, late season plants. I rejoice when it spreads to cover entire neglected lots. I love how it pops up in inhospitable back alleys and inbetween houses. I also adore seeing it where it is welcomed: in state and national parks, along trails and around lakes and ponds. I rarely see it cultivated in gardens, and that’s too bad. There are a couple reasons for that, as Gail points out.
First people think it causes hayfever/allergic reactions. It doesn’t; that’s ragweed, which is out at the same time.
Second, it is undoubtedly aggressive. I have the same philosophy as Gail on this; she notes, I have a love affair with rough and tumble, take care of themselves, colonizing wildflowers. If you stop by my garden today, you’ll see tall goldenrod/Solidago altissima duking it out with New England ex-aster/Symphyotrichum novae-angliae in the sunnier parts of the garden.
Same here: I have tall rudbeckia jousting with tall eutrochium, common white eupatorium pushing against aruncus, and colinsonia shouldering its way through anything it can. That’s fine by me, but I realize not everybody likes such an unruly garden aesthetic.
That’s why there are five gazillion types of solidago-slight exaggeration, ok, but there really are plenty of hybrids, some of them very well-behaved. If you need evidence, here’s a great video entitled So Many Goldenrods, So Little Time, from Good Gardening Videos.
Long live goldenrod! (Not that it seems to need our help.)