Sneezeweed

helenium-sneezeweed-csutilxeriscapegarden-9aug2006-lah165rWhy would you grow a flower called Sneezeweed? Picture a striking, three-foot high perennial covered with 2 to 3 inch daisy-like flowers of yellow, orange, red, rust, and copper. The leaves are six inches long, lance-shaped and dark green. Actually, the name comes from the use of the dried leaves and flowers as snuff; the pollen is unlikely to cause hay fever. However, handling the plant can cause an allergic reaction, so it’s wise to use gloves. Also, the plants are bitter and toxic, so keep them away from small children and pets.

(more…)

New England Asters

aster-novae-angliae-new-england-aster-etnaca-2006sept01-lah-005Everyone loves daisies, so it’s no wonder that New England Asters (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae) are so popular. Bright purple (or pink or white) daisies with contrasting golden yellow centers adorn these shrubby perennials from August until October. Growing to four feet high and wide, the plants tend to sprawl unless staked, especially in very fertile soil or partial shade. Stems bear long, lance-shaped leaves of dull green.

(more…)