Tag Archives: eupatorium

Eupatorium dubium (Joe Pye Weed) ‘Little Joe’

Some times smaller is better … or least just as good.

That is my take on Joe Pye Weed ‘Little Joe’ even after only having added it to my garden this past spring.

I have gushed incessantly in the past when speaking of my love for Eupatorium (Joe Pye Weed) so why wouldn’t I love a smaller, therefore more versatile, cultivar? I found three of these remaining at my favorite garden center, Ambleside Gardens and Nursery, and immediately snatched them up.

Once home, I put a plan in place to determine exactly where these native perennials would go. And when I say “plan”, I mean a thirty second, half-assed analysis before finding a location on a complete whim.        

In the ground they went and by mid summer, they were all in full bloom:

Now I know I can’t judge a plant in a matter of a few months, but I already know I’ll be dividing these in the not so distant future and will spread the love throughout all of my landscape. Why it took me so long to acquire these dwarf cultivars I don’t know, but I am thrilled to have finally done so.

By early October, as expected and as witnessed with their larger brethren, that familiar gold/orange fall color emerged:

Nothing off the charts, but a solid counter punch to all of the red fall hues.

A few weeks after that, all of the leaves had fallen and those kick ass seedheads were on display:

As I mentioned in a post last week, I don’t see the need to bore you with all of the details of ‘Little Joe’ when you could easily find them in a web search. But what I can tell you is that I have mine in full sun and in a spot where the deer frequent frequently. No issues to date in any way.

Here is one last shot, back in August, of the surrounding plants next to my collection of ‘Little Joe’. If you look closely, you’ll see that Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterfly on the right is leaving a Clethra ‘Hummingbird’ and heading over to visit ‘Little Joe’ on the left.

Good times.

“Prune in June” – another Joe Pye Weed update

When we last discussed my experimental pruning of Joey Pye (experimental in that I’m strictly following the advice of Tracy DiSabato-Aust), there were new bud breaks just emerging where I had previously pinched back the new growth.
It has been three weeks since that update and luckily for you fine reader, I’ve got another one for you today. 
First off, the Eupatorium (aka Joe Pye Weed) is in full bloom right now:    

And looking damn good along side Miscanthus ‘Morning Light’:

But enough of the niceties, this is about pruning and science and crap.

As a recap, here is the new growth prior to it being pinched back in early June:

And then pinched:

And then the new buds breaking soon after:

And the blooms from those buds, as of today:

As you can see in the photo below, the pinched areas in the front, where the blooms are just now appearing, provide the planting with a layered look that I really dig:  

You can appreciate the layered look even more from this side view: 

This mass of Joe Pye Weed has always looked good and performed beautifully in the past, but now with this new layered look (seen best from the most common vantage point) I am loving it even more.

I’ll have some additional updates on my other pruned victims plants in the next few weeks so keep an eye out for them.

This stuff is fun, yo.


“Prune in June’ – Joe Pye Weed – update

Couldn’t resist a quick update on my original post on pruning Joe Pye Weed.

When I pinched the growing tips back, I had mentioned that Tracy Disabato-Aust had stated that it would result in “5 breaks emerging from the stem” and guess what? Here they are:

The non pinched stems are just about ready to bloom so more to come on this front in an upcoming post.

Good times.


“Prune in June” – Joe Pye Weed

When someone tells me “Leave well enough alone”, you know what I say?

How about I DON’T leave it alone and make it even … weller.

Or … more well.

Or … you get the point.

Which brings me to the next entry in my “Prune in June” series; Eupatorium ‘Gateway’, more commonly known as Joe Pye Weed.

This statuesque perennial (close to six feet tall) has been a solid performer for me for years now, so why would I want to mess with a good thing?:

Because, well, why not?

Let’s play around a bit and have fun with it. It’s an opportunity to get the hands dirty, experiment, observe and learn a thing or two. All good things last time I checked.

Here is what my Joe Pye Weed (JPW) collection currently looks like:  

And here is a close up shot of a “growing tip” on one of the branches. These are easy to identify as a sort of “swirl” in the middle of the surrounding leaves:  

Tracy DiSibato-Aust (“T’Aust” as I’ll refer to her going forward), who I discussed in my prior post, recommends pinching this new growth in mid June (other wise known as “now”) which causes “5 breaks to emerge from the stem” and ultimately creates a fuller plant.

Well, I did just what my lady said:    

In fact, I pinched all of the stems along the front of the JPW plants. My hope is to create a layered effect where those pinched stems bloom a little smaller on stems a little shorter than those in the back that were left unpinched:

Here are said unpinched stems:

And here is the same shot as above but with the stems in front now pinched:

As I stated in my last post, I’ll continue to track the developments as these plants continue to adjust and grow throughout the summer.

And you know you’ll be waiting to see these results with bated breath.

Because I am here to both educate and entertain.


What’s blooming today

A sampling of what’s blooming, about to bloom and blooms on their last legs: 
Lobelia siphilitica

Hydrangea ‘Endless Summer’ blooms maturing to dark pink

Helenium autumnale (Sneezeweed)

Sedum ‘Autumn Fire’ (Stonecrop)

Eupatorium ‘Gateway’ (Joe Pye Weed)

Moved all my Northern Sea Oats to same location – “A sea of oats”

Nepeta ‘Walker’s Low’ starting to rebloom after drastic haircut 

Coreopsis ‘Sweet Dreams’ 

Hibiscus ‘Kopper King’ blooms are endless

Physostegia ‘Summer Snow’ (Obedient Plant)

Althea ‘Lavender Chiffon’ (Rose of Sharon) 

The advantages of native plants

I must admit, I have a very large lawn on my property. It takes me close to two hours a week to cut it during the growing season. Not exactly environmentally friendly, eh? Before you beat me down, I must tell you I never water it, never fertilize it and have slowly been chipping away at removing it by creating new garden beds. While a lawn provides a great play space for the kids and the green swath looks pretty damn nice in the spring, I am no longer much of a fan. The effort involved to maintain it is not worth it and for a plant lover like me, it really represents more of an opportunity to further bankrupt myself and create more garden beds.

Which leads me to a discussion on native plants. A native plant can be best defined as: a plant that occurs naturally in the place where it evolved (I took that definition from wildflower.org). There are numerous advantages to using native plants in the landscape (and you will notice almost all are exactly the opposite of what it takes to maintain a lawn):

  • Drought tolerance 
  • Minimal need for fertilizer
  • No need for pesticides
  • With minimal fertilizer/pesticides – no run-off into the water supply 
  • Disease tolerant
  • Attracts wildlife, beneficial bugs and encourages biodiversity
  • Low cost to purchase natives
  • Because natives are in their natural environment, their size and cooperation with neighboring plants is much more predictable and makes design/planning much easier.                

I didn’t intend for today’s post to be about native plants but as I was reviewing my plant photos from this prior year, I noticed how many of the “successes” were native plants. Hence, where I ended up with this post. Here are some of my native plants and please, share some of the natives you’ve had success with in the comments section so I can pretend I knew about them all along:   

Sneezeweed – Helenium autumnale 

Blue cardinal flower – Lobelia siphilitica

Turtlehead – Chelone glabra 

Purple coneflower – Echinacea purpurea

Garden Phlox – Phlox paniculata ‘David’

Boltonia asteroides ‘Pink Beauty’

When the native plant sales begin here in New Jersey around the middle of May, I begin my plan of attack and this upcoming year will be no different. I’ll just need to clear more lawn to fit in more of these low maintenance gems.

Go native or go home!

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Photos only a plant geek could love

I got outside early this morning before it was too hot and too sunny and snapped some photos. It seems like we advanced two months in the last two days and dag nabbit (actually looked up the spelling) I am loving it. We reached the upper 80’s today with a nice breeze so it was the perfect day to be working from home with all of the windows open.

On to the photos: 

The Weeping Cherry is in full bloom and it rocks my world.

We got tulips and what a welcome sight out on the deck this early in the year. Seriously, there may be upwards of 50 tulip pots next year now that I know I can overwinter them easily in the garage.

An actual bloom from a bulb planted in the ground in Fall. Dreams do come true! This is a Snowbell and survived the wet winter clay as advertised. Consider me a fan!  

Here come the Crabapple ‘Prairie Fire’ blooms and we would like to offer them a warm welcome. You may stay as long as you like.  

There may only be one bloom on the Viburnum ‘Aurora’ but I couldn’t be more excited. Big expectations have been put on this one … she has two years to deliver the goods.    

Literally overnight, this Astilbe ‘Deutschland’ emerged. It is in one of the few areas that gets afternoon shade so will hopefully continue to thrive. I love the foliage on these and would keep them even if they didn’t bloom. The only issue is that they can crisp up quickly if let to go dry so you have to stay on top of watering these.    

Emerging Hypericum ‘Albury Purple’ (St John’s Wort). Wonder if I could just eat these leaves and get the effect promised by the over the counter stuff? Anyways, great green/purple foliage, yellow flowers and berries later in the season that for me, persisted into the Fall. Need to get me some more of these.  

More Viburnum buds (Shoshoni) that will soon explode. I’ve raved about these previously so won’t bore you again. But remember … these rock the party. 

Narcissus … enjoy them while they last … and remember to always let the foliage die down naturally as long as possible to rejuvenate for next year.

I kicked it old school and did the “Worm” when I saw this today. It is Eupatorium ‘Chocolate’ and planted it late last year and I am thrilled to see the return visit. Great/awesome/fantastic/killer foliage color that is a great contrast to all the green in the garden. I just need to remember to keep the Liquid Fence nearby these … they are prone to Bambi damage.     

Spirea ‘Goldmound’. I jumped on the chartreuse foliage bandwagon two years ago and have yet to drop off. The color just pops and works so well with almost any other color. Again, I don’t even care about the pink blooms on these babies, foliage is all I need.

Admit it … this stone RULES! Look at that texture and color and just all around awesomeness. I found a bunch of these when I was digging out our front bed and what a gem (other than the physical torture of getting these out – this is one of the smallest ones).  Just adds so much to a garden bed when interspersed with plants.   

That is all for now. I plan on getting outside later today to start digging out the sod where I am extending the back bed around the deck. I am so ready for some serious manual labor even if it is only for a short period of time. Photos of the experience will be included in tomorrow’s post.