Fall is coming and I don’t have to look at the calendar to know that. My Asters are
in bloom, that’s one way of knowing. And fields and pastures everywhere are abounding with Goldenrod. I just learned that this plant, too, is of the Aster family. I wouldn’t want it growing in my garden, but look closely at its blooms, while holding it in the sun, and it truly glistens like gold. There are between 100-120 species of this plant, but the one we see throughout the countryside is called, Solidago gigantee.
Some of you may have bad thoughts about goldenrod and that’s because you think you’re allergic to it. I read that you cannot be allergic to it because it does not make
pollen. So what is it that you are allergic to? Ragweed is the culprit. It blooms the same time as goldenrod, and it has an especially irritating pollen. If you are one of these people just once, try saying, “lovely goldenrod,” and visit a patch. You will not have difficulty finding it. It is a wide spread, wild plant in North America (found from Florida to New Hampshire and west into Texas. It grows in Europe and Asia, too.
It would be highly unusual to see one goldenrod plant growing alone; it multiplies by sending out root runners and soon a whole field is full of them. Bees and insects are good friends of goldenrod. Maybe you’ll become one, too.
Did you know that when this plant’s flowers and roots are dried, tonics are made from
them, so is vinegar and tea. They actually look great in flower arrangements, too.
“It feels like fall.” You’ve probably said that yourself. Now when we sit on our porch a nearby cricket serenades us. It’s strange, but as a child, I don’t remember fields of goldenrod, like we have near us, now. Since it was less-country in Folsom, PA, there weren’t fields open to the spread of goldenrod. I do remember walking across a vacant field, though, on the way to school, and that’s where I picked daises to my heart’s content. I also remember pussy willows, that could be gathered into a bouquet for my mother.
I like what Helen Hunt Jackson wrote about fall: “The goldenrod is yellow, The corn is turning brown, The trees in apple orchards With fruit are bending down.”
Before summer’s end, families look forward to going to the beach but there are others
who prefer this time of the year to visit there. I wonder have you been to South Sands Beach, in Maine? This beach comes to mind, because on the boardwalk there is a business, established in 1898, called “Goldenrod.” It is a candy store and among it’s many confectioneries is salt water taffy, made right before your eyes. It’s most poplar flavor is the one called “Goldenrod Kisses.”
My husband has oftentimes been asked if he is related to the author, John Updike? No, there no relationship and if you look closely, there is a difference in the spelling of the last name. I found something written by him that fits Shirl and You topic for this week. He writes about fall:
“The breezes taste Of apple peel. The air is full Of smells to feel- Ripe fruit, old footballs, Burning brush, New books, erasers, Chalk and such. The bee, his hive, Well-honeyed hum, And Mother cuts Chrysanthemums. Like plates washed clean With suds, the days Are polished with A morning haze.”
I may not have convinced you that “goldenrod allergy” is a myth and goldenrod may not be your favorite wildflower, but you will admit that it is a sure sign of fall. I hope you will write to me. It is very easy to make a comment to Shirl and You. Just click on the heading, scroll down to the bottom of this writing and there will be a form in which you may type your comment.