Plant of the Month
‘Elegant Feather’ Eupatorium
Eupatorium capillifolium ‘Elegant Feather’
Location: Grid N-33 Annual bed along the stream by the barn
I saw this plant when I was visiting the Cheyenne Botanic Garden in Wyoming a couple of years ago. They had it growing in pots in their Children’s Garden. I asked the Director of the Children’s Garden what it was, and frankly did not believe him when he told me it was a Eupatorium, since it does not look at all like any of the Eupatorium (Joe Pye Weed) that I have grown. But upon further research it turns out to indeed be related to Joe Pye Weed.
I asked the Horticulturist at Cheyenne if he knew where I could find some plants and he told me that their supplier had gone out of business and he didn’t have another source. After looking for awhile, I was able to find some last winter, but they were pretty expensive; so, I only ordered three plants. Turns out they are easy to propagate and I was able to root enough to plant 13 of them in the annual bed.
The species of this plant is native to the south east and is considered a weed there. It is known as Dog Fennel and the foliage looks remarkably similar to the local weed known as Dog Fennel, although they are completely different plants. This selection is at least reportedly sterile—and even if it turned out not to be, it is unlikely that seed would mature here as it only flowers in very late summer.
One minor project for the month has been trying to pin down the identity of the Yucca that is flowering in the Xeriscape Garden. After consulting with various people from Tucson to Denver, as well as locally, the consensus is that it isn’t a Yucca after all! It is a close relative, Hesperoyucca whipplei, common name, Our Lord’s Candle or Chapparel Yucca.
Classes start next week, so my crew has shrunk from 3 to less than 1. That means we will be spending most of our time trying to keep up with the mowing and the worst of the dry spots for the next few weeks.
We were able to finish a new pathway through the Western Red Cedars on the bank of the lower pond. It was designed thinking it would be popular children’s spot, but it is accessible to anyone.
Despite appearances, we have spent time trying to stay ahead of the plant growth in the ponds.
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