Plant id – Goldenrod

(Question)

Hello, I just moved into a new cottage and don’t know very much about gardening. It has a lovely perennial garden and I want to make sure I take care of it properly. Could you please tell me what these plants are and how to care for them… Ie cut back in spring/ fall. Thanks! I have a bunch of pictures so I will copy this message and send it with each picture

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(Answer)

Looking at a new garden and trying to identify what is in it must be one of life’s greatest pleasures!

This plant is Canada goldenrod (Solidago canadensis) a native plant that is very common in Ontario’s cottage country (and indeed, in cities as well), and is often seen along roadsides and in meadows. It blooms in the late summer and early fall, and its lovely deep golden colour is one of the hues that signals the end of summer.

Goldenrod is a perennial that reproduces by self-seeding as well as by its rhizomes – roots that travel under the soil. It is described both as a wildflower and a weed. If you find you have too much of it, you can simply pull it up. In a relaxed cottage setting, you may find that you have room for it wherever it grows. Many gardeners love it for its reliability and its splash of colour at a time of year when other perennials have already bloomed. You may have heard that goldenrod is responsible for hay fever and other allergies, but this is an old misconception that doesn’t seem to quit: ragweed, which flowers at the same time and whose inconspicuous flowers we hardly notice, is actually responsible.

The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs has a wonderful and very useful website which will be a great resource for you in identifying the native species that are on your cottage property. Here is the link to the entry for Canada Goldenrod: https://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/crops/facts/ontweeds/canada_goldenrod.htm

Another interesting site to browse is this one: https://www.ontariowildflower.com/goldenrods.htm  It is full of great photos to aid in identification of the native plants and wildflowers on your cottage property.