I know what you're thinking.
GOLDENROD?? Ahhhchoo! No thank you.
First of all, let's free poor goldenrod of its perceived misery making.
Goldenrod, or Solidago, is not responsible for your autumn allergies and seasonal sniffles. I promise. For too long, poor, innocent goldenrod took the rap for the real culprit: ragweed. Both plants bloom at the same time, and while ragweed is a notorious allergy trigger, goldenrod always gets the blame.
Perhaps it's because they bloom in similar areas, at similar times, with goldenrod making a more vibrant show than ragweed. Whatever the reason that led to goldenrod's persecution, the reality is that it provides a fabulous feast for pollinators in late summer and early fall, just as many of our garden flowers are fading. Because the pollen of goldenrod is heavy and sticky, it's rarely wind born--another clue that it's not aggravating your allergies. (However, goldenrod can cause topical reactions if handled excessively. If you're easily itchy like me, handle it with care.)
With approximately 100 species of goldenrod, I was surprised and a little disappointed when I looked for it along the forest and riverbank near our garden last year--and didn't find it.
This year, however, is a different story.
(Use your imagination and pretend I inserted a video of me doing a happy dance in the forest after discovering it today!)
Goldenrod is spread by seed, as well as underground rhizomes. I can only imagine that the wind took pity on me and blew seeds from a neighboring yard onto our property. Thank you, wind.
Not only is goldenrod a beneficial feast to flies, bees, wasps, and butterflies, it also contains medicinal properties used by Native Americans, who chewed leaves to alleviate sore throats. According to my resources, young leaves of goldenrod are considered edible, and traditional herbalists use it to cure issues with kidneys and bladder.
Most importantly, though, it's the centerpiece for this week's Floral Friday!
I've used our state wildflower as the predominate focus of the bouquet, with a splash of color added by another pollinator favorite: lantana.
While goldenrod is a native wildflower throughout much of North America, lantana can be invasive in some tropical climates. In our zone 7b garden, it thrives without becoming a nuisance.
It's particularly popular with the hummingbirds this year.
Today's bouquet is simple: two varieties of flowers, both great garden additions to give our pollinators a late-season energy boost.
What is blooming in your garden? If you create a bouquet to celebrate Floral Friday, please post a photo on my Garden Delights Facebook page so we can enjoy your bouquet, too!
Happy weekend, friends!