It seems that every garden blogger I read loves his or her Joe Pye Weed! They praise its long bloom period, the late summer color it provides, and, especially, its allure to butterflies and bees. Is it any wonder, then, that I literally hopped with excitement (and made my teenage children roll their eyes) when I found several pots of this wonderful plant for sale last week at our local Agway?
For once, I heeded my own unwritten (until now!) and frequently broken rule to refrain from buying a new plant unless I already have a spot to plant it. (Astonishing, I know!) I’ve had in mind for a while now to dig a new small bed in a corner just outside the vegetable garden, and my desire for this plant was just the impetus I needed!
I came home and got busy with the pitchfork and shovel. I amended the soil with one forty pound bag each of mushroom dirt and composted manure. At last, I was ready to return to Agway and buy my new plant! The Joe Pye section there was buzzing with so many bees that I was a bit nervous about putting my chosen plant in the car with me and my daughter, but luckily, we made it home unscathed!I think this spot just outside the back corner of the vegetable garden will be perfect for my new plant. It is sunny here for most of the day, but the soil tends to stay moist, probably thanks to the rocks. Joe Pye can grow tall (this is Eupatorium ‘Litttle Joe‘, so should top out around 4 feet) and be seen over the garden fence, and it has some built in support for its height between that fence and the rocks. Finally, the somewhat out of the way location means I won’t mind when it expands to its projected three-foot wide clump and starts to demonstrate its weedy tendencies. My Joe Pye Weed will share its bed with two plants I recklessly bought this summer at a farmers’ market, breaking that pesky rule I mentioned earlier! One is a rhubarb plant, purchased a month ago, being kept alive in a small pot. The other is a butterfly bush which I hastily planted in a temporary spot in the back of another small bed, and will move in September. If all goes well, I expect that all three of these plants will grow big enough to nicely fill, but hopefully not overcrowd, this new bed.