Tuesday, August 21, 2012


An amazing giant wasp on my boneset
Day 193
The Daily DuBrule

I remember the first time that boneset first entered my consciousness. I was in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont, walking through a field. This wonderful, tall and stately wildflower was everywhere. It looked vaguely familiar but not really. The way the foliage clasped the stem was very distinctive. The flowers were soft and fuzzy and looked like white ageratum. When I got home to Connecticut, I looked it up. Eupatorium perfoliatum. Native to eastern North America. Cool. Butterflies love it and so do bees and lots of crazy looking, giant wasps that I can't stop watching whenever I need a break from gardening. I just stand there and stare in wonder. I buried my nose in the flowers and they are scented, a little bit sweet, a little bit spicy. It was a very important medicinal plant for the native Americans and early settlers. Makes sense to me.
Boneset with leaves that clasp the stem
I love all Eupatoriums. They are just so easy to grow, especially in my heavy, wet clay soil here in Middletown. I didn't plant these bonesets. They appeared on their own. Doubly cool. I did plant Eupatorium purpureum 'Joe White', a white form of giant Joe Pye weed. But that's very different. Big rounded heads that are creamy white, not that fuzzy, and open in the middle. Much taller and more stately. If you are looking to fill up some serious real estate in your garden and want to attract a wide range of pollinators, try boneset. Try Eupatorium 'Joe White'. What the heck, try all the Eupatoriums. You can't go wrong.

'Joe White' behind Vernonia (Ironweed)
'Joe White' with 'Lemon Queen' perennial sunflowers

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