Thursday, July 26, 2007

Gardening question

I'm hoping someone out there can help me to identify a plant. Out by the barn, there is this amazing plant growing. It's about six feet tall with pink flowers. We've looked in our plant guides and on the internet, and we think it might be Joe Pye Weed, which I read is a member of the sunflower family named after an Indian who treated colonists with it for typhus. A description says that the leaves smell like vanilla when crushed, and ours do not. What do the gardeners among us say?



10 comments:

  1. "The Resident Gardener" {my husband} at first thought it was Astillie {or however it's spelled} But no. I will look for a picture of it, in my blog.

    But he doesn't know...

    Beautiful though...

    Some other gardener will probably know.

    Mari-Nanci

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  2. I found a picture of his Astillbie. It's not the same as your flower, but you can see how similar it is, at first look.

    IF I can make a clickable link to an entry in my blog.

    I hope this link will take you to a flower 'mosaic.' It's the pink flower, middle of top row and second from left, of bottom row. Per usual, click on the mosaic to see a bigger size picture.

    Fingers crossed that this link will work. :-)

    Mari-Nanci
    P.S. Wheeee! Looks like the link works! :-)

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  3. I see Mari~Nanci did answer give you the correct answer. In Holland, 'Astilbe' are very popular plants. We have them growing up at the cottage as they do great in shadow gardens. Yours is very pretty too.

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  4. Nan, I have Joe Pye Weed growing here in abundance, and this does not look the same. I will keep my eyes out for your flower in my gardening books and catalogs though and let you know if I stumble across a likely possibility! I love a good garden mystery! :)

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  5. You have a magnificent specimen of Filipendula rubra, common name - Queen of the Prairie. It is native but rare on Midwestern prairies. I'm very sorry that I don't have time to google a link for you.

    You are a very lucky person. Prairie enthusiasts around here would kill for a plant like that. We have several growing in our prairie but we never see it in flower. Deer find the flowers to be five-star delicacies.

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  6. Oh, Silphium, thank you, thank you, thank you!! Just this morning, my husband went out (again) with the plant book, and he came back saying that it sure seemed like Queen of the Prairie, but the book says, "moist prairies, meadows. Iowa, Michigan, east to w. Pennsylvania and south." Well, how in the world did it get to my northeastern home? Some traveling bird? Butterfly? Whoever brought it, I am supremely grateful. And grateful to you for confirming what we couldn't believe to be true. It is so beautiful and such a treat to see. Thank you again so much! And when I clicked on your name, it came up that your blog is A Prairie's Progress, but there wasn't anything there. Is there a different address? I'd love to visit.

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  7. And thank you to Mari-Nancy, Aisling, and Heidi for your comments. We were quite sure it wasn't Joe Pye Weed, because there was no vanilla smell. I'd love to see a picture of yours, Aisling. And we have some Astilbe, and though it looks like it, the A. is very short so we didn't think it could be. This stuff really does make me think of the tall, flowing plants of the prairie, and I'm just thrilled to have it. I hope it will come back each year. The only thing different in that area of our land is the dying birch trees which had been there a long time were cut down in early spring, opening up the space to new light and air. Perhaps these seeds had laid dormant in the soil for ages, and finally had the right conditions to grow.

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  8. "A Prairie's Progress" is just getting underway, assuming we can figure out the mysteries of Blogger. It's a rainy day project until winter anyway. I read your blog faithfully so I'll let you know when we have something up.

    Re: your plant. I haven't had any success whatsoever planting the seeds and I've tried maybe a dozen times. Propagation is easy through division though if you want to put one in your garden.

    I don't know much about northeastern natives but it wouldn't surprise me a bit if there were tiny prairies in the northeast 500 years ago. Or maybe some long ago pioneer sent a rhizome to her family back East?

    Deb

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  9. Nan, My Joe Pye Weed is in bud, so I will try to get a few pictures soon and again as it blooms. I'm glad you found the answer to your question. I love this garden-magic, of things that "plant themselves." :)

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  10. Now that I know what the plant is, I' ve done some reading and it is not unusual for Queen of the Prairie to grow in New England. The book I had must have been either outdated or just wrong. A Colby College site said it grows in all the NE states. I found another site where a gardener in the Champlain Valley of Vermont grows it. So, not odd, but still very, very wonderful. We're going to try transplanting some so we can see it better. Now, as I said, it is out by the barn and you must make a special trip to see it. We might put some out in front of the barn. Wouldn't that look pretty against the weathered boards?

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