Author | Morgan Paixao
As the weather turns cooler and the mornings begin with a crisp start, a new season is underway, and with it, a new palette of color and texture enters the landscape. With the growing season coming to a close, this final burst of food for pollinators is a magnificent show of bounty. Purple and yellow hues dapple fields and streambeds; Aromatic Aster, New York Ironweed, and Goldenrod are among these showy and robust plants.
New York Ironweed (Vernonia noveboracensis) is named after English botanist, William Vernon, who studied plants throughout North America in the late 1700s. The common name 'ironweed' refers to the strong stem and roots of the plants. This sturdy specimen is clump-forming and thrives in damp meadows. The purple flowers adorning the top are in the composite family (Virginia Native Plant Society).
Ironweed is one of my favorite fall blooms, with its lovely deep purple flowers and uniquely recognizable stems. I remember when I first learned about it, I began to see it everywhere. One such clump I always looked forward to seeing bloom, it was in a beautiful low meadow, surrounded by picturesque farmhouses and Massanutten mountain in the background.
Another late-season, showy bloomer is goldenrod (Solidago). A plant many love to hate because of a simple mix-up! Goldenrod is often blamed for fall allergies, but in fact the culprit for many a seasonal sniffle is ragweed. Ragweed produces an extremely high proportion of pollen and of the individuals who suffer from seasonal allergies, 75% are allergic to ragweed (Allergy Choices Blog). So why is goldenrod to blame? One reason could be because of goldenrod's prolific blooms, they are standouts in a landscape and bloom at the same time of year as ragweed as well as having a similar structure.
So how can we turn this wonderful plant's reputation around? Well, let's start with celebrating it's benefits!
- Goldenrod has healing properties, indigenous communities chewed the leaves to help alleviate sore throats. It is also known to help with urinary tract infections and can benefit the kidney.
- The flowers can be used to make yellow dye.
- The leaves and flowers can be dried and used to make an anti-allergin tea which clears sinuses and may help combat sneezing/red eyes during the fall season. Tea can be brewed along with mint leaves and honey!
- Goldenrod makes for a beautiful and lasting cut flower!
Plant Sales through October!
Did you miss our official Fall Plant & Bulb Sale last week? Don't fret, we still have some plants available and ready to be planted this fall! Stop by the Frances Plecker Education Center to view a selection of trees, shrubs, perennials, and bulbs! We also have a wide variety of houseplants available at this time!
Want a more in-depth shopping experience? Make an appointment at our nursery ($50 minimum) by calling our office at 540-568-3194!
Early Autumn in the Arboretum
The Herb & Stone Series: Rosemary & Amethyst
Wednesday, Oct. 14 | 12 PM - 1 PM | $24 Registration
Join Herbalist Jen Tullo of Cyanwood Cottage and Stone-Worker Cheryl Martin for a 1-hour introduction workshop to Rosemary and Amethyst
Participants will walk through the beautiful EJC Arboretum Herb Garden and discover the protective, warming, earth-medicine of Rosemary. Jen will explain the basics of ethical harvesting, mindful medicinal practices, and how to preserve Rosemary in oil for use in salves, balms, and other skincare remedies. Complimenting the healing and energetic properties of Rosemary, is Amethyst. Cheryl will teach participants how to use Amethyst for energetic healing, space-clearing and in spiritual practice.
The workshop includes printed instructional material, a simple rosemary salve, an amethyst stone, and a custom botanical coloring page of Rosemary and Amethyst, created by local artist Molly Whitmore.
Instructor & Sound Healer | Connie Magee
Oct 14 & Oct 21 | 12 PM - 1 PM | $20 per session
Join Sound Healer and Yoga & Meditation Teacher Connie Magee for an etheric journey in the woods. Trees provide healing medicine for the soul, and the otherworldly tones of two large gongs and chimes provide a magical soundscape that dances within the sounds of nature. Find a comfortable spot on your yoga mat or lawn chair, settle into a guided mind-body meditation, and drift away. You'll notice the birds and woodland creatures connecting to the vibrations, and you will deeply relax and tune in simultaneously.
Please meet Connie on the Ernst Tree Terrace adjacent to the Frances Plecker Education Center.
Evening Tai Chi
Grayson Pritchard | Blue Heron Healing Arts
Friday, Oct 9 | 5 PM - 6 PM | $15
Join instructor Grayson Pritchard of Blue Heron Healing Arts for an early evening session of light exercise among the trees and stillness in the EJC Arboretum! This is an outdoor event and intended to be on the lawn or within the Arboretum. Meet at the steps of the Frances Plecker Education Center