Monday, July 4, 2011

My Guilty Pleasure - Lysimachia clethroides

Gooseneck Loosestrife (Lysimachia clethroides) is one of my favorite plants. I fell in love with it on a mini-vacation with the husband in Lake Geneva, WI. It was July 2007, just weeks before my daughter was to be born, and we wanted to have one last romantic getaway. As we strolled the downtown, popping in and out of shops, I saw this plant everywhere! When we came home, I tried to find it at our local nurseries with no luck. When I'd ask about it, the nursery staff would tell me it was so invasive that they would not carry it.

I had to have it. I posted on Freecycle asking if anyone had it and would like to share, and received a note from a woman in the next town. I remember her telling me it was invasive and to make sure I put it in a place where it wouldn't be able to spread. I was so thrilled to get her thinnings, and for free! I had the perfect spot - a 1' x 8' strip of earth next to my house bordered on the other three sides by concrete. Since Gooseneck Loosestrife spreads by rhizomes, there would be no worry about it taking over.

So, why is it my guilty pleasure? I do feel a little guilty (or maybe just rebellious) that I planted this non-native botanical bully that most people regret ever introducing to their gardens. But it's beauty outweighs any feelings of guilt. It blooms reliably and profusely, even in drought, for a full six weeks in June and July. And the blooms are stunning en masse - like a gaggle of geese all looking in the same direction. It also has striking fall color. An A+ plant for zones 3-8, if you use it responsibly!

Lysimachia in bloom

See how it got it's common name?

Lysimachia fall color

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