May 24, 2024
Get a blooming start both fall and spring with native plants of the month

by Mary Reid Barrow

Get a blooming start this fall and next spring with LRNow’s Native Plants of the Month for May.

Come this fall when the garden is fading and turning brown, bright yellow seaside goldenrod can step in to fill the void. And in spring mayapple may be the first to show its pretty leaves and blooms under a tree or in a shady spot in your garden.

Goldenrod will bloom its head off from late summer well into fall, pleasing not only your eyes, but also filling the bellies of nectaring insects and pollinators searching for late autumn dining opportunities.

Despite tales told about goldenrod, it is not the culprit that causes sneezing and wheezing in the fall. The blame goes to a little insignificant and entirely different plant called ragweed that blooms at the same time.

You may never have noticed ragweed. For the most part it grows low to the ground and gets its name for its raggedy looking leaves. Its blooms are insignificant looking too, but they can sure pack a wallop with the amount of pollen they produce.

So, give pretty seaside goldenrod a chance this year. It’s great for pollinator gardens and for areas of the yard that aren’t so perfect too.  Growing 3 to 6 feet tall, easy going goldenrod handles salt spray and drought with no trouble.

Unlike goldenrod, early blooming mayapple will be one of your first garden treasures in spring and one for the bees too. And if you ever come across mayapple on a walk in the woods and see it for the first time, you will have a hard time doing without this sweet offering.

Cool green umbrella-like leaves form a raised carpet under the trees trying to hide open faced, innocent white blooms underneath. It will grow well in the shade in moist rich soil.

Mayapple is named for the lemon-colored fruit that develops from those blooms in summer. Everything about the mayapple is poisonous, except for the fruit which can be made into jams and jellies. Box turtles and other critters like the fruit too.

Both plants are being offered to LRNow by Southern Branch Nursery, a native plant nursery in Chesapeake. Goldenrod is $13.50 and mayapple, $15.50. Place your orders by June 5, and you can pick them up from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. June 10-13, at the LRNow office on 3712 Holland Road.



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