The Virtues of Goldenrod

“What is a weed? A plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson

When I was growing up, Goldenrod was a weed, pure and simple. My mother sent me to rip it out, along with Queen Anne’s Lace and Dandelions.

This morning I found myself ordering a packet of Goldenrod seeds, shaking my head all the while.

I tried to convince myself that this was a different kind of Goldenrod from the weeds of my youth.  It was probably specially cultivated in England or something.

But the picture on the seed package told a different story. This was plain old Goldenrod, the official flower of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, the place of my birth.

But apparently bees love it. I mean, really love it. Almost as much as Borage.

And it’s good for them too.  It blooms for almost a month at the end of the summer, when the bees are building up their stores of honey for the winter.

But could I really cultivate it in my classic English garden? What would Gertrude Jekyll do?

It turns out she used it in her borders for its brilliant yellow color!  All is well!

Now I can hardly wait for those seeds to arrive. It just took me a while to fully appreciate the virtues of Goldenrod. Oh, and it’s deer resistant too!

4 thoughts on “The Virtues of Goldenrod

  1. What a valuable and beautiful weed to give bees some late summer nectar to stock the larder for winter. Maybe we should grow it at our apiary. Beautiful photo of goldenrod, it’s luminous!

  2. Rusty says:

    A plant needs four characteristics to make it into my inner circle. It must be deer resistant, rabbit resistant, drought tolerant, and appealing to the bees. Goldenrod meets all those criteria, plus it’s pretty! In the fall, the flowers droop low to the ground under the weight of bumble bee luncheons. I can spend hours watching everyone–bees, wasps, bee flies–vying for the nectar and lustrous pollen. It’s not a weed, it’s a five-star restaurant.

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