Beaux Arbres has three new species of wildflower are ready to take to the Old Chelsea Farmers’ Market on Thursday: Ohio Goldenrod (Solidago ohioensis), Giant Hyssop (Agastache scrophulariaefolia) and Rattlesnake Master (Eryngium yuccifolium).
Ohio Goldenrod is a well-behaved flat-topped goldenrod for full sun. Goldenrods are a hard sell, in part because of the silly myth that goldenrod pollen causes hay-fever – anyone who has ever seen goldenrod in flowers has also seen the pollen-heavy bees working it and knows goldenrod is not wind-pollinated – and in part because of the totally deserved reputation of some species for being garden thugs. Not all the goldenrod species are aggressive and many are excellent garden plants for late season colour. Our other favourite goldenrod is the lovely Blue-stemmed Goldenrod (Solidago caesia). a delightful flower for light shade. (We’ll be bringing some of those to market, too.)
Rattlesnake Master is native to the American tall-grass prairie and is a weird and wonderful addition to our gardens. It has spiky globular flowers in sprays. In fact, it is a tall prairie form of sea holly. And that makes it an unusual member of the carrot/dill family, and a host plant for caterpillars of black swallowtail butterflies. I like sprays of the flowers in bouquets. They are not colourful but they do contribute dramatic texture.
On a related note, cuttings of Twinflower (Linnaea borealis) I started earlier in the summer have rooted well and in fact have put forth some out-of-season flowers. I had always heard that Twinflowers were fragrant and growing them in pots allowed me to experience their sweet almond-like fragrance close up. This is a totally delightful little creeping ground-cover for acidic shade. I expect I will have them ready for the Rare and Unusual Sale next May.