Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Flowers always make people better, happier and more helpful; they are sunshine, food and medicine to the soul. ~ Luther Burbank





I planted Joe Pye in my garden three years ago. This year it has finally come into its own. The first two years, it made a disappointing showing and I considered taking it out. This year, it has more than made up for the failings of the past.



Maybe I better qualify that statement. I have two Joe Pyes, one is Little Joe pictured above. Right now, Little Joe is the star of my garden. I also have Chocolate Joe Pye which was planted at the same time. So far, Chocolate hasn't done much to repay my investment of time and real estate. For now, I'm forgetting about Chocolate and concentrating on Little Joe.

Joe Pye is usually a very large garden plant reaching eight feet in height. Tina at IN THE GARDEN featured the taller Joe Pye on her blog Wednesday. Little Joe is a smaller cultivar, which tops out a little over four feet tall and about four feet wide in my garden. I like its compact and rounded habit. There is at least one other dwarf cultivar called Phantom which is supposed to be around three feet tall. The photo below shows Little Joe blooming behind the rudbeckia and cleome.



Airy clusters of tiny lavender flowers remind me of a cross between lilacs and a smoke tree. So far there have been no pests or disease problems with my plants. I debated with myself for a while before adding these plants because of their moisture requirements. Over the last five years, I've tried to eliminate water wasters and concentrate on more xeric plants but every now and then something slips past my better judgment. Our weather was pretty dry in late May and June and Joe, who is planted in full sun, showed some wilting and required watering once a week.

Even though Joe Pye is not xeric, it was a good choice. It is both beautiful and loved by butterflies. Joe Pye begins to bloom just as the agastache and the purple coneflowers are fading so the butterflies can remain in my garden for a longer period.



The photo below is Little Joe in tight bud in early July.





Tossed, tangled, whirled and whirled above,
Like a limp rose-wreath in a fairy dance.


Thou didst not know, who tottered, wandering on high,
That fate had made thee for the pleasure of the wind,
With those great careless wings,
Nor yet did I.
~ Robert Frost from this Butterfly poem

30 comments:

Heather said...

Joe is nice! Here's hoping for Chocolate Joe.... great pics too!

Gatsbys Gardens said...

I need to look into those small Joe Pye Weeds. I have Chocolate on the south side of my house and it takes a lot of water in the heat. I do enjoy it in the fall when the leaves lose that dark color and break out in white feathery flowers.

Eileen

Southern Lady said...

I have an area that needs some of those. I think the smaller ones would be best for me. Thanks for giving so much information. Carla

Dirt Digger said...

I am completely obsessed with Joe Pye right now, the butterflies are swarming them like mad! Can't get ebough photos of them. I also have a bunch of 'chocolate' planted and while the foliage looks awesome, not a bloom in site after two years. Will do my best to stay patient. Great, great post!

Cameron said...

I am another completely obsessed Joe Pye fan! We need a club! :-)

My one 'Little Joe' is so fabulous that I want a dozen more!

Don't give up on 'Chocolate' as one of mine is several feet tall now and fabulous! I planted it in full sun beside my swamp milkweed, behind ageratum and persicaria amplexicaulis 'Firetail'. The foliage is GOREGEOUS! There's an agastache 'Salmon & Pink' up the slope behind it and amsonia hubrichtii, now just green foliage on the other side. It will be in a future post of mine when it, and the firetail bloom. The 'Little Joe', ironweed and butterfly ginger are on the other side of the milkweed -- putting all the moisture lovers together.

I planted the other 'Chocolate' with rudbeckia in part shade and it's just sitting there, less than one foot high. I'm planning to move it to the sunnier spot. I've heard that 'Chocolate' once it starts blooming can self-sow a lot. At this point, I hope so!

~Gardener on Sherlock Street said...

I wonder if I have room for one of the smaller Joes? They sure seem to be a hit with the butterflies!

Kathleen said...

Nice! I'm glad you added it Marnie. 'Gateway' is the star of my garden from about now thru the end of summer. I have to be really zealous about picking ambush bugs off of it otherwise they kill a lot of bees but I still would not ever consider taking it out. I'd like to plant your 'Little Joe' as well. I'm just running out of room...

Kathleen Scott said...

Thanks for stopping by Hill Country Mysteries. I appreciated your comment and the chance to follow your profile back here. I've been interested in Joe Pye but water is an issue in the arid Texas Hill Country...

And I got to see your agastache post too. Have been interested in these since Pam of Digging (another great garden blog) highlighted hers that survived our drought & furnace summer last year.

Look forward to reading you.

Skeeter said...

Lovely poems for the garden! Joe is sure making his way around the blogs right now. I must invest in one for my butterfly guests...

Cheryl said...

Hi Marnie.....any plant that helps butteflies is a great investment.

I have seen Joe Pye on other blogs.....lovely blooms.

Hope Chocolate Pye comes into his own next year.......

sophie said...

Now I know what Joe Pye weed is...so many years of reading about it and never seeing it. Thanks!

Patsi 'Garden Endeavors' said...

Great quote at top of page.
Amazing artsy pics of the butterflies. The first one reminded me of a water color.
Lavender...that's what I'm missing in my garden.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Your Joe is very nice Marnie. Do you know that old saying about plants? "The first year they sleep, second year they creep and the third year they leap". Your Joe was just following the road to maturity. I have Joe too but I never water it. I bet even if it wilts a little it would do ok.

tina said...

I missed this post yesterday. Sorry I'm late. I'm a wreck buying a house for my daughter (acting on her behalf). What a chore! Blogging has suffered a bit. Anyhow I truly love that combo of the Joe Pye with the rudbeckia and cleome. Picture perfect indeed! Your gardens must be really fabulous seeing all at once you have such a variety. You are right about Joe wilting a bit. It can be a bother but it actually more drought tolerant than some things like hydrangeas. I need to switch to more xeric things (read hydrangeas got to go). Very smart. It's so nice the butterflies love JPW And do stay around longer. Love em all!

Sherri said...

Marnie, love the flower pictures! I had Joe Pye Weed growing along the brook on our farm in NJ-I love it. Yours looks gorgeous!

Q said...

I too have Joe Pye growing in my gardens.
I read over 35 different butterflies can use it as a host plant!
I like the native plants the best.
Your plants are thriving! I love seeing the Tiger Swallowtail nectaring in the Joe Pye.
Just like nature intended! Great photograph.
Sherry

troutbirder said...

Apparently everyone has Joes. Me, ignorant as I am, didn't even know there were cultivars, and seeing them in the wild thought they only grew in boggy ground. Duh

Gail said...

How did I miss Joe! I like this plant a lot and do find that when it's very dry he needs an extra gulp of water. He's a good nectar plant for the pollinators and I've read it's a host plant for Painted Ladies. It's worth the extra water to me, too! gail BTW, you do have wonderful photos!

Susie said...

Glad you didn't give up on it Marnie. Some plants just take a little longer than others to really get going.

Hope you have a great weekend!

Rose said...

My Joe Pye has done so well this year, too, and frankly, I didn't know it took extra watering, so it has thrived without any help from me:) It's been a great addition to the back of the butterfly garden where its height keeps it from being swallowed up by all the Susans. My Chocolate Joe that I planted last year, though, didn't make it. The dwarf cultivar sounds like a great idea for other areas where I don't want something so tall.

Hasn't this been a great year for butterflies?

Rosey said...

I have seen a lot of Joe P on blogs this year and I think that is a sign that I need to start growing it! I will give it a shot.
Your photos are great. I hope you have a super weekend.

sophie said...

Yes...urban pups do have a restricted existence so I take advantage of my coastal rural lie and run and play as hard as I can everyday. I guess I'm lucky...I am not takiang this for granted, ever.

Monica the Garden Faerie said...

Hi Marnie, I've had the same experience with Joe Pye--the foliage/blooms take a few years to come into their own... but if you'd tried to move it, you'd have seen the roots get pretty established early on, lol. :)

Diana (Di) said...

Marnie, we have had the larger Joe Pye in the garden for years and water sparingly once a week throughout during July and August only. Occasionally it tilts its head a bit in defiance if it has been too hot, but comes back strong each year.

Luv your header photo! Have a great weekend.

Dawn said...

I love my jpw, it seems to grow wild up here and it is a attraction for the butterflies for sure.
I missed this the other day, I should pay more attention to my blogroll!

Kerri said...

Joe Pye Weed is growing in great swathes in the meadow beside our farmhouse so I can enjoy it without lifting a finger. I love a plant that takes care of itself :)
I'm seeing a lot more butterflies this summer than last. Not finding much time to chase them with the camera though. I wish summer would slow down!
Love your butterfly pics, Marnie, and the new header is very pretty.

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oldcrow61 said...

You take marvelous pictures both here and below. It's a pleasure to look at them.

Corner Gardener Sue said...

I planted 'Gateway' this year, in a spot that is moister than the one I have had in the side bed that turns dark and dies every summer. Now that I've done that, the other keeps coming up, even after I pull it out. I gave up, and am letting some grow to see what it does.

My chocolate blooms more toward fall. It sure pitches fits when it's hot and dry.

I enjoyed your photos.

Judy said...

Most of the Joe Pye weed that I see is in the waste land near the river. It grows wild there, and is about four feet tall. I love it, and the photos of the hybrids in your garden are beautiful!