Our silly, top-heavy Spike Blazing Stars in 4″ pots keep blowing over and diving onto the lawn, where they will sometimes be chewed on by our resident groundhog. I could transfer them into larger pots, but what they really want is to be planted in the ground in your garden. This has prompted me to offer them at a 2 for 1 sale to our customers.
Spike Blazing Star (Liatris spicata) is a wildflower in south-western Ontario, where it is found in sunny prairie sites, often where there is a high water table for part of the year. In the US, they are sometimes called Marsh Blazing Star, reflecting their wild preference for dampish sites. In gardens, however they are very adaptable to drier conditions, and in fact are quite tolerant of droughty spells in summer. They are completely hardy in western Quebec. In fact, these very plants that are on sale spent last winter in their overly small pots and I did not lose a single one to winter kill. (Lost a couple to having their roots eaten by voles, a fate to which Liatris are susceptible.)
Blazing Star flowers are very attractive to butterflies and other nectar seeking insects. They belong in every sunny wildflower garden. Spike Blazing Stars are the middling, mama bear member of the clan. At about three feet tall, they are taller than little Cylindric Blazing Star, and shorter than the imposing Prairie Blazing Star (Liatris pycnostachya).
We will be bringing a flat of Spike Blazing Stars, budding nicely and ready to bloom, to the Marché Bristol Market on Friday afternoon and to the Pontiac Farmers Market in Shawville on Saturday morning. Just in case anyone has room for the stunning 5 to 6 foot tall Prairie Blazing Star, I’ll bring one of those (in a gallon pot) to market as well.
I have some little seedlings of another Blazing Star, Rough Blazing Star (Liatris aspera) growing in the greenhouse presently. Rough Blazing Star is happier in drier sites and is probably my favourite for the pretty silvery button effect the buds make before they open. They are not fast off the mark as seedlings so they may not be ready for sale until next spring.
Top photo: A wild stand of Spike Blazing Star in a nature reserve near Windsor, Ontario.