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      Text and photographs are © by Ellen Spector Platt & Ellen Zachos, all rights reserved.


      Showing posts with label Eupatorium. Show all posts
      Showing posts with label Eupatorium. Show all posts

      Friday, September 3, 2010

      THE CASE OF THE MISSING JOE PYE

      The dwarf Joe Pye weed (above, left) seemed perfect for my garden. Especially after I brought home a trial pot of it from a Garden Writers Symposium in '06. This new variety 'Little Joe' (Eupatorium dubium) was supposed to grow only 3-4' tall, unlike it's cousin the native Joe Pye weed (Eupatorium purpureum) that grows up to 10' high. I plunked it in the only empty pot I had and in spring surrounded it with lettuce seeds. It did what it was supposed to do, starting in late summer and blooming into fall and looked great for three years, fast becoming one of my favorite container plants.
      When I transplanted everything into new pots early March '10 , the 'Little Joe' wasn't yet showing leaves and I forgot to look for it. After all the pots were replanted, it was among the missing. It must have gone out with the other old roots and dried stems. Onward and upward, and I'll buy a new one some other time.
      In the Garden
      Sure, if you have pond and a few acres, the native Joe Pye is ideal for the back of the border.I used to gather armfuls of flower stems for drying just as they were coming into bloom. The delicate mauve blossoms were a perfect filler for any dried arrangement. Double click on the image above to view another favorite, Angelica gigas in front of the Joe Pye.
      Around Town
      I see 'Little Joe' in many of the NYC parks. My favorite sighting is on The High Line where it's one of the late summer points of flower interest.Back on my Roof
      By late July this summer,
      I noticed some familiar
      looking, heavily veined
      and textured leaves.
      There, by a juniper,
      crowding my new dwarf
      nandina and quince, is
      the old 'Little Joe'. Still
      don't know if the roots
      got thrown in this pot
      or seeds had distributed
      themselves and
      naturalized here, but
      I'm grateful to see a
      favorite, and still with
      its following, a crowd
      of butterflies, somehow
      realizing that there
      was tempting nectar
      on the 18th floor of
      my building.


      Joe Pye weed is famous for attracting swallowtails and monarchs, but here on the Upper East Side, Manhattan, New York City, painted ladies are flitting all over my 'Little Joe'.Herbal Use
      Eupatoriums have a long history of medicinal use by the Chinese and American Indians, with the Joe Pye weed especially useful for its rhizomes. In the "New Encyclopedia of Herbs & Their Uses", Deni Brown ed. cites uses "internally for kidney and urinary disorders, including stones, cystitis...prostate problems...painful menstruation, or history of miscarriage and difficult labor", Eupatoriums also have immune-stimulant and anti-cancer properties but can be toxic. Definitely not just a pretty face.



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