Golden Alexander in Retreat

Golden Alexander (Zizia aurea) is in bloom right now, and one thing I’ve noticed is that it’s not where it used to be.

DSC_0220

 

It’s a native wildflower worth growing, though it’s hard to find at garden centers. The flat flower heads are made up of many tiny golden blooms. A member of the carrot family (Apiacea), it’s supposed to be a host plant for Black Swallowtail butterflies.  I must say, though, that I’ve seen Black Swallowtail caterpillars on Fennel and Parsley, but never on Golden Alexander.

Salvia, golden alexander

Anyhow, what I was going to say is that I used to have a big mass of Golden Alexander growing in the Sidewalk Border. You can see it at the top of the picture above, which was taken in 2013. Since then, the Golden Alexanders in this border have been almost completely squeezed out by the Monardas (M. didyma and M. fistulosa) and Short’s Asters (Symphyotrichum shortii).

Come to think of it, I had to rescue those Salvias, too – they couldn’t handle being shaded out by their taller neighbors.

DSC_0222Fortunately, I still have a few patches of Golden Alexanders: in the Left Bank Bed, in the Front Foundation Bed, and in the Parkway Bed (above), where they combine nicely with ‘Walker’s Low’ Catmint (Nepeta racemosa). Golden Alexander self-sows with modest abandon, so it is hard to lose completely.

DSC_0221

Blue and yellow are always a winning combination, and the habit of these two plants seem to go together very comfortably.

Do you grow Golden Alexander, or one of its carroty relatives, in your garden?

27 Comments on “Golden Alexander in Retreat

  1. It’s so important to find plants that combine well together, as these two do. I’m not familiar with golden alexander but I do love plants that self sow. This kind of gardening is a bit like search and rescue.

  2. I’ve been gardening for over 40 years and have never seen the plant anywhere. Garden center or at anyone’s home. I’m going to read up on it online.

    • This year I’ve been surprised to see it show up at a couple of garden centers, often in the “Natives” section. I’ve purchased it in the past from online specialty nurseries. These days I have plenty of free seedlings.

  3. Yes, I love Golden Alexander. I didn’t know it was supposed to be a host of Black Swallowtails. Like you I have never seen cats on them. I love those cheery yellow blooms early in spring.

  4. Yes, I grow it also and it is spreading around nicely. I plan to move a good bit of it to one bed, but I guess if I wait long enough, it will find it on its own.

  5. I started some from seed by planting them in a sheltered nursery bed. They germinated this spring, and I have moved some to individual pots. I have never seen anything grow more slowly. It would be great to put them into the garden, but they would be lost. I hope they eventually get big enough to transplant.

  6. Blue and yellow are indeed a winning combination. I’ve never seen golden Alexander in Maine.

  7. I like that blue and yellow combination. I haven’t seen Golden Alexander here. I’m trying to grow some wild carrot this year from seed… it has white/pinkish flowers. It’s in pots safe from snails, I hope!

  8. I also love Zizia aptera which is shorter with very pretty leaves. I don’t believe it seeds around as much.

  9. I don’t grow Golden Alexanders, but I think I should after reading about them. They sound great and would grow here.

  10. I’d not heard of Golden Alexander – I do like the blue/yellow combination and am hoping to incorporate that into our spring plantings. Queen Anne’s Lace always pops up all over the place and we have several edible family members in my garden – parsley, parsnip, cilantro, dill and, of course, carrots!

    • Yes, QAL seems to be a common field weed all over the midwest. Do the Swallowtail cats like the carrot family crops in your garden?

      • Yes! They especially love the dill – can’t blame them, it’s one of my favourites too 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: