August 24, 2011

A Wildflower that I'm Afraid to Mention

Superstitious? Maybe. There's a lovely wildflower growing in my meadow garden. I've been afraid to write about it. I planted just one (on July 4) as an experiment. The small nursery pot quickly grew to four feet high. The blooms have started and I'm totally smitten. White, frilly blooms and lovely green foliage. The perfect wildflower for middle of the border.

Eupatorium altissimum (Tall Boneset).
August 2011 photo in my meadow garden.
Eupatorium altissimum (Tall Boneset) is native to many states from the Midwest to the East; from as far south as Texas and Florida and as far north as Canada. That's a pretty good track record that covers multiple growing zones from 4 to 9. I'm growing mine in full sun and the plant is tolerant of a variety of soil conditions and moisture.

This native is sometimes called 'white joe pye weed' or 'prairie jewel' and flowers from August until frost. Seeds can be sown in the fall in most areas, so I'll be sure to let this one self-sow. Colder zones may try winter sowing or stem cuttings to propagate.

So why I'm I so afraid to mention this wonderful, white wildflower? The deer. I could find little information on whether or not this plant is deer resistant. So far, they've left this one alone. I rush out every morning to check to see if there has been any damage. I've planted the boneset with asclepias incarnata (native swamp milkweed for the Monarch butterflies), solidago, stipa and a tall garden mum (don't ask why a mum). I hope to show you more photos of eupatorium altissimum as the fall season approaches!

If you are interested in reading more about wildflowers, be sure to check out the blog, Clay and Limestone and join her Wildflower Wednesdays series.

Words and photos by Freda Cameron, Defining Your Home, Garden and Travel. Deer and rabbit resistance varies based upon the animal population and availability of food. All company or product or patented names mentioned are registered trademarks, copyrights, or patents owned by those respective companies or persons.
Freelance travel writer. My current fiction writing projects include a completed manuscript and several works in progress.

By the way, my name is pronounced fred-ah, not freed-ah. Thank you.

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