How to Grow and Care for Ironweed (Vernonia) Vernonia spp.
A true titan among wildflowers, the often imposing, hardy, and reliable ironweeds are typically tall, easy to grow, and an absolute favorite among pollinators.
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Capable of flourishing in some truly tough spots, these flowers take care of themselves and put on a wonderful display when the garden’s riot of summer color is waning.
Read on to find out more about growing this late summer show-stopper.
Here’s what I’ll cover:
What Is Ironweed?
A member of one of the largest flowering plant families on earth, Asteraceae, ironweed belongs to the genus Vernonia, named for the English botanist William Vernon.
Although the exact number of species is debatable, the genus is widely distributed around the globe and appreciated in horticulture for the fortitude that gave the plants their common name.
This large group of perennials occupies a variety of habitats including open woodlands, to montane cloud forests, to roadside ditches, wet riparian areas, and old fields.
There is a lot of diversity within the genus, but all species produce bright purple to pink flowers composed of what are known as disk flowers.
Disk flowers are small, tubular, fertile flowers tightly packed together to form what’s known as an inflorescence. In ironweed, this aggregation of disk flowers look like beautiful, purple pom-poms that emerge in summer to early fall.
Ironweed leaves are typically toothed and are arranged alternately on the stem. Many species have a potent mixture of unpalatable chemicals that render them resistant to nibbling from deer, rabbits, and other herbivores!
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Beans include many types of snap beans, pole beans, and Southern peas, such as black-eyed types. Plant these in spring after all danger of frost has passed. Because they grow so fast, start beans from seed directly in the garden. To speed their sprouting, soak seeds in water overnight before planting.
Cotoneasters are not a well-known group of plants, and these excellent berrying shrubs are often unfairly labelled dull. The culprit responsible for this reputation is Cotoneaster horizontalis (wall spray), which sprawls across front gardens and car parks up and down the country, and is, admittedly, rather dull. But, beyond the ubiquitous blandness of C. horizontalis, there are many wonderful cotoneasters that deserve to be more widely grown.
The Victoria plum, Prunus domestica ‘Victoria’, is Britain’s best-known plum variety. It produces heavy crops of delicious, egg-shaped fruits, ideal for use in jams and chutneys, as well as eating straight from the tree.
Learn how to grow a cute mini lavender tree that not only looks pretty but also smells lovely! Choose the right variety like Hidcote Blue or Munstead, find a sunny spot, and use well-draining soil with occasional watering. Give it a trim after blooming, and watch out for pests. Simple, right?
Cherries make a wonderful tree for all sizes of garden. Many varieties are attractive trees, bearing spring blossom, colourful fruit, interesting bark and leafy foliage that turns orange, red and yellow in autumn.
The All About Plants category debuted in the Great Pavilion at RHS Chelsea 2022. This year, six gardens supported by Project Giving Back and designed in collaboration with a UK charity, will be on display. A grief garden, a skate park with a focus on edible planting, and a vibrant design that champions good gut health are just a snapshot of the gardens putting plants at the forefront of the design and keeping hard landscape at a minimum.
Some people get their kicks from designer labels, others from rummaging through flea shops, or collecting obscure Japanese comics, vintage tractors, handbags, dolls, beer-mats, Star Wars merchandise or whatever else. Me, I get mine from ordering seeds.
January is an interesting time to look for birds in the garden, as days are short and the availability of natural food is limited. This brings more birds into gardens, for whom a reliable source of supplementary food can be a lifeline.
Last September my husband and I fulfilled a long-held dream of visiting Australia, when we decided to take a road trip from Brisbane to Sydney. When you look at the map, our trip marks only a tiny slice of this massive country, but we knew we wanted to take it slowly and really soak up the countryside and enjoy the places we did have time to see.
This month, why not use your 2-for-1 Gardens entry card to spot some of the most exciting wildlife the UK has to offer in late winter. Wrap up warm, grab your2-for-1 Gardens card, maybe even some binoculars and head out to one of these gardens for a full day out.
The pear grown in Britain is the European Pear which derives from Pyrus communis, native of the temperate parts of Europe and the western part of southern Asia as far as the Himalayas. In America some varieties are grown which are hybrids between the European Pear (as represented by ‘William’s Bon Chrdtien’, known in America as ‘Bartlett’) and Pyrus serotina, the Japanesesand pear.
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