October 31, 2014
It's the last day of October, and I'm just squeaking by with a plant of the month post (scary!). This plant is not in my garden, but we planted it in a pollinator garden I worked on this past growing season.
This species of Goldenrod (Solidago rugosa) is "a variable species and is divided into two subspecies, the typical one subdivided into three varieties," according to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. 'Fireworks' seemed to be later-blooming than many of the other Goldenrods in my area this season.
When it first starts blooming, the arching stems have just a hint of gold, and look like sparks of fireworks. At full-bloom, it forms a mound of lovely goldenness. The height and spread (depending on spacing) are roughly equal, at about 3 to 5 feet in both directions.
This Goldenrod grows best in sun, in medium-to-wet but well-drained soil. It's native from Ontario, Canada, south through Texas, U.S., and points east. Other nicknames include Rough, Rough-Stemmed, or Roughleaf Goldenrod.
The color and form make it a great companion to Anise Hyssop (Agastache foeniculum).
But my favorite aspect of this beautiful late bloomer is its value to pollinators--as it attracts butterflies, and is listed by The Xerces Society as "special value" to native bees and honeybees, and it supports conservation control.
The pollinators were enjoying it late into the growing season, when it was in its full glory and many other blooming plants were fading.