KY Spring Native Flowers

Home to over twenty-five hundred plant species, Kentucky is a veritable wildflower garden. Kentucky native spring flowers include bloodroot, spring beauty, and Virginia bluebells.

KY native wildflower

Bloodroot

Spring Kentucky Native Flower

One of the earliest blooming wildflowers in Kentucky, bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis) appears in the late winter and early spring. This native wildflower gets its name from its red-orange rhizome and the red juice that can be squeezed from it. Native Americans used bloodroot to treat fever, ulcers, ringworm, and skin infections. It finds use in dye-making and is also being studied for possible anti-cancer properties. Bloodroot, however, is toxic when ingested, causing vomiting and loss of consciousness.

Bloodroot can be planted from seed or through root division. It can grow in sun or shade as long as rich, moist soil is available. You will find this short wildflower in both Kentucky’s woodlands and open fields. Bloodroot’s white flowers, yellow stamens at the center, are about an inch and a half to two inches across. A single round leaf accompanies each flower.

KY wildflowers in blooms

Spring Beauty

Kentucky Spring Wildflower

Spring beauty (Claytonia Virginica) is another of Kentucky’s early spring wildflowers. Less than a foot in height, the small white to pink flowers emerge before the trees begin to leaf out. Spring beauty opens in the morning to take in the sun’s warmth and closes again each evening. Its inconspicuous leaves blend in with surrounding grasses. Like many wildflowers, its loveliness is fading, blooms lasting only a couple weeks.

Claytonia readily reseeds itself and can be found soaking up the sun across the eastern United States. Gardeners can collect the seeds to bring a little spring beauty to their own gardens.

Spring beauty owes its name to John Clayton, an eighteenth century naturalist who so impressed Benjamin Franklin that the founding father “granted him free mail privileges for shipping his plants and letters.”

KY wildflowers in bloom

Virginia Bluebells

Ephemeral KY Native Wildflower

When traversing Kentucky’s woodlands in the early spring, you may encounter Virginia bluebells (Mertensia virginica), also called cowslip or mertensia. Virginia bluebells flourish in sandy and loamy soil and can often be found along creeks and other waterways. Nurseries and seed catalogs also carry these spring beauties. The nodding, bell-shaped wildflowers vary from blue to purple to pink. The inch-long trumpets bloom in clusters. Bluebells grow to a height of one to two feet, and if the growing conditions are right, they may quickly spread and naturalize. Bees, butterflies, and moths all pollinate them.

This Kentucky native wildflower springs up after the last hard frost in March or April. A spring ephemeral, Virginia bluebells only bloom for two to three weeks before going to seed. The foliage dies back by early summer. Mass plantings are breath-taking while Virginia bluebells are in bloom, but they are short-lived and may leave a “hole” in your landscape once they have died back. Keep this transience in mind when planting bluebells in your garden.

Virginia bluebells were a favorite of Thomas Jefferson’s and still grow at the Monticello today.

KY Rain Garden Wildflowers

Kentucky Wildflowers

Native Plants Attract Butterflies and Bees

Interested in planting wildflowers for pollinators? Bloodroot, spring beauty, and Virginia bluebells all attract butterflies and bees.

For more information on using native plants to attract butterflies, check out the following resources:

oldham county kentucky gardening

Oldham County Gardening

Upcoming Gardening Classes

Oldham County Extension offers educational classes, the following of which are free and open to the public. RSVP for an upcoming gardening class in Oldham County, Kentucky via (502) 222-9453 or lauren.state@uky.edu. To get notifications of upcoming gardening classes, contact the Oldham County Extension office.

Hellebores
Friday, March 24, 6:30 p.m.
Biologist Anne Cartwright of the American Hosta Society discusses another of her favorite flowers: hellebores. This gardening class is sponsored by the Oldham County Master Gardener Association.

Wildflower Walks With Tavia
Saturday, March 25
Woodland Garden Walk: 10:15 a.m.
Forest Trails Wildflower Walk: 12:15 p.m.
March is a marvelous time to rediscover our scenic landscape and its many inhabitants. Tavia will share share medicinal uses of plants, how they got their names, any fun strategies of how they reproduce, and “flora-lore” and stories that have been told by Native Americans.

Vegetable Gardening
Tuesday, April 11, 6:30 p.m.
Horticulturist Michael Boice will share tips on establishing and maintaining a successful home vegetable garden.

Gardening for Wildlife
Thursday, May 4, 6:30 p.m.
Master Gardener Mike Guelda discusses using native plants to draw in birds, bees, and butterflies. This gardening class is sponsored by the Oldham County Master Gardener Association.

Year-Round Irises
Thursday, May 11, 10:00 a.m.
Bob Strohman, author of the recently published Iris Red, Iris Dead and member of the Louisville Iris Society, shows how to have irises in bloom all twelve months of the year. This gardening class is sponsored by the Oldham County Master Gardener Association.

Photographs by Jennifer Anderson (USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database), Paul Henjum, Christian Hummert, SB Johnny, Ryan Kaldari, Nicholas A. Tonelli, Sudhir Viswarajan. Used under the Creative Commons License.

Written by Lauren State, Oldham County Master Gardener. Reviewed by Traci Missun, Oldham County Agriculture & Natural Resources Agent.

Vegetable Garden Preparation

The following Horticulture article printed in the Spring 2017 edition of the quarterly Oldham County Extension newsletter.

Looking Forward to the Vegetable Garden

Spring is almost here. Take advantage of the last few days of winter to plan your garden. After exploring the seed catalogs and deciding what you want to grow, map out your garden on paper. This is a good way to determine how much seed to order for the vegetables you want to produce. Whether you are growing a new garden or one you have been using for several years, planning will help improve the quality of your harvest this year and future years.

  • Plan your garden on paper before you begin. A map showing where each vegetable is grown allows you to space your plants for good growth. This plan will help determine your crop rotation for following seasons to reduce the carryover of vegetable disease and insect pests in the soil.
  • A good gardening site has full sun for at least eight hours each day and is relatively level, well-drained, and close to a water source. Watch for possible shading as landscape trees mature.
  • Test your soil every two to three years. Prepare the soil properly and add fertilizer and lime or sulfur according to soil test recommendations.

carrot vegetable garden

  • Plan only as large a garden as you can easily maintain. It is easy to overplant and then fail because it is hard to keep up with the tasks required.
  • Grow vegetables that will produce the maximum amount of food in the space available. The bush varieties are best for small spaces and generally yield a lot of vegetables.
  • Plant during the correct season for the crop. Crops are either cool season or warm season types. Choose varieties recommended for your area. Controlling weeds and watering when needed will keep the plants less stressed and improve your production.
  • Harvest vegetables at their proper stage of maturity. Store them promptly and properly if you do not use them immediately.

A well-planned and properly kept garden should produce 600 to 700 pounds of produce per 1,000 square feet and may include many different crops.

ky strawberries

Finally, the closer the vegetable garden is to your back door, the more you will use it. You can see when your crops are at their peaks and can take maximum advantage of their freshness. In addition, keeping up with the planting, weeding, watering, and pest control will be easier.

The 2017 Vegetable Gardening Guides are now available. Contact the Oldham County Cooperative Extension Service office or download the publication “Home Vegetable Gardening in Kentucky” online.

vegetable gardening

Based on article by Richard Durham, Extension Horticulture Specialist, University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service. Edited by Oldham County Horticulture Assistant Michael Boice and Oldham County Staff Assistant Lauren State.

Spring FCS Classes

The following Family & Consumer Science articles first printed in the Spring 2017 edition of the quarterly Oldham County Extension newsletter.

Spring Learning Oppotunities

Savvy Sellers & Bargain Hunters can help one identify items that could be sold and determine which outlet would be the best fit to sell personal items. This lesson will be presented by Jane Proctor, Trimble County Extension Family and Consumer Sciences, on Thursday, March 23, at 10:00 a.m.

Consumer fraud, a topic that is in the news almost daily has become more sophisticated with the expansion of the Internet and direct-marketing techniques. Join us at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, April 27, for Let the Consumer Beware, taught by Allison Lewis, Spencer County Family and Consumer Sciences Agent.

Sign up for Canning Boot Camp! Come learn or review the safest methods to safely preserve the wonderful vegetables and fruits that are produced in our county this summer. Oldham County Family and Consumer Science Agent Chris Duncan will teach two sessions: 6:30 p.m. on June 8 and 10:00 a.m. on June 9.

Come Sew With Us

Master Clothing Volunteer Angela Morris will teach three sewing classes at the extension office this spring:

The project of the day is not required; participants are encouraged to bring their own projects to work on. Youth must be accompanied by an adult. Call (502) 222-9453 to reserve your seat.

OC Homemaker Spring News

The following Family & Consumer Science articles first printed in the Spring 2017 edition of the quarterly Oldham County Extension newsletter.

Celebrating Cultural Arts in Oldham County

On February 3, Oldham County Cultural Arts and Heritage Day was held at the John Black Community Center. Thirty-nine homemakers entered one hundred entries, a sizable increase from last year’s event. Forty-nine blue ribbons were awarded.

oc hm volunteers

The Crossroads & Poplar Grove homemaker clubs hosted a card making party. Over one hundred valentines were made for local nursing home residents!

On Friday, February 24, Cultural Arts Winners from the county level will compete in the Louisville Area Cultural Arts competition at the John Black Center. Entries must be pre-registered. Viewing will be 1:00 to 2:00 p.m.

oc hm arts

Winners from the Louisville Area Cultural Arts competition will advance to the state competition which takes place during the KEHA meeting on May 1 through 4 in Owensboro. “Mapping Our Future” is the theme for this year’s state meeting. Visit keha.org for more information.

Louisville Area President Elect Announced

Congratulations to Dottie Crouch, President Elect, for the Louisville Area Extension Homemakers. Dottie has served as president of the Crossroads Homemakers, Homemaker representative on the Oldham County Extension Council, and is presently serving her second term as Oldham County Extension Homemaker President. She has successful chaired numerous committees that include fundraisers and membership drives. Dottie is an outstanding leader and tireless advocate for UK Cooperative Extension.

Oldham County Homemakers Save the Date

Save the date! The 2017 Oldham County Extension Homemaker Annual Meeting will be Thursday, May 18, at the John Black Community Center. The Yarnovers and Suburbanites will announce more details at the Homemaker Council meeting on March 23.

New Homemakers Clubs

Painting Club have their next meeting on Tuesday, March 21, and plan to meet the third Tuesday of each month from 1:15 to 4:00 p.m. Bring your brush, paints, and projects to the Extension Office to improve your skills, be more creative, and enjoy companionship. Call Barb Lynch, at (502) 243-1386 for more details.

The Wednesday Quilters plan to meet every Wednesday at the Oldham County Extension Office. This group is for all skill levels. Please join us between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. Bring your lunch and have fun quilting! Contact Cheryl Kuprion at (502) 741-9744 if you have any questions.

Leader of the Year Nominations

The following article first printed in the Spring 2017 edition of the quarterly Oldham County Extension newsletter.

Extension Leader of the Year Nominations Being Accepted

The Extension Leader of the Year Award recognizes a volunteer leader for outstanding service and commitment to the Oldham County Cooperative Extension Service. Please think about leaders you know in your clubs and councils, and consider nominating someone today. This award will be presented by the Oldham County Extension District Board during the Fiscal Court Appreciation Brunch this spring.

Past Extension Leaders of the Year include Jon Bednarski, Oren Clore, Pat DeChurch, Terri Griffin, Kathy Hockersmith, Faye Korthaus, Joyce McKinney, Ron and Bettie Miller, and Peggy Townsend.

extension volunteers

Based on the following criteria, nominate someone you feel is worthy of recognition for contributions to the Oldham County Cooperative Extension Service:

  • Demonstrates outstanding leadership qualities and a positive attitude.
  • Dedicates numerous service hours on behalf of Oldham County Extension.
  • Serves in such a way that some aspect of Extension would have suffered without their service.

To make a nomination, mail the following information to Oldham County Extension, 1815 N. Hwy 393, La Grange, KY 40031 or email lauren.state@uky.edu.

  • Name of Nominee and Club Name, if applicable
  • Program Areas involved (4-H, Ag, FCS)
  • Nominated by
  • List the nominee’s leadership roles and community service activities.
  • Describe the nominee’s contributions to the Oldham County Cooperative Extension Service, including the significance and impact of these contributions.

Deadline for nominations is April 14.

January 2017 Agriculture News/Events

kentucky extension

It is shaping up to be a busy winter season. We’ve added an event – on Friday, March 3, an inspector from the KY Department of Agriculture will be here to check your scales and certify them for farmers market sales. If you haven’t been through this process before, make sure you take a look at the Farmers Market manual to understand what constitutes a ‘legal’ scale.

EXTENSION CLASSES

Reserve your space by calling 222-9453 unless otherwise noted.

  • Industrial Hemp Seminar, February 9, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., Shelby Co. Extension (includes lunch). Call 633-4593 to reserve space for this meeting. Agenda and presenter information available online.
  • Farmers Market Scale Certification, March 3, 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m., Oldham Co. Extension. No registration required. Scale regulations are available in the farmers market manual.
  • Adapting Your Garden as You Age, February 13, 10:00 – 11:00 a.m., Oldham County Extension. Sponsored by Green Thumbs Garden Club and presented by Oldham County Horticulture Assistant Michael Boice.

OC Gardening Classes

  • Grain Crop – Weed Control, February 21, 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m., Henry Co. Extension (includes lunch). Presented by UK Extension Specialist Dr. J.D. Green.
  • Grain Crop – Economics & Marketing, February 28, 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m., Shelby Co. Extension (includes lunch). Presented by UK Extension Specialist Dr. Greg Halich.
  • Grain Crop – 2016 Season Review & Production Fundamentals, March 14, 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m., Oldham County Extension (includes lunch). Presented by UK Extension Specialist Carrie Knott
  • Managing Nuisance Wildlife – Gardens & Farms, March 6, 6:00 – 8:15 p.m., John Black Community Center (includes dinner). Presented by UK Extension Specialist Dr. Matt Springer. He will discuss control measures for deer, raccoons, other small mammals, plus coyotes and black headed vultures.

kentucky water

  • Living Along a KY Stream, March 16 from 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. at Oldham County Extension. Registered participants will receive a tree seedling. Presented by Curry’s Fork Watershed Director Jen Shean and Oldham County Agriculture Agent Traci Missun.
  • Good Ag Practices Training, March 20, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m., Oldham County Extension (Sampling Certificate Info Available on Request)

ATTENTION, DOG OWNERS!

If you own dogs, please make sure you keep them properly restrained on your property. This is for the safety of the dogs as well as for neighbors’ livestock. There have been three incidents this month of dogs killing livestock and poultry on farms. Even the most docile and gentle dog is capable of chasing and/or killing livestock.

Under Kentucky Revised Statutes 258.235, “Any livestock owner or his agent, without liability, may kill any dog trespassing on that owner’s property and observed in the act of pursuing or wounding his livestock.” Help prevent these problems by keeping your dogs confined to your property. Problems with dogs running loose may be reported to Oldham County Animal Control, 222-7387.

KY Forests

CONSERVATION DISTRICT TREE GIVEAWAY

Oldham County Conservation District will host their Arbor Day Tree Giveaway for Oldham County residents on March 25 from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. (or when all are trees are gone). The event will be held at their office, 700 West Jefferson Street in La Grange. These are the trees they plan to have available: Cypress, Eastern Redbud, Yellow Poplar, Wild Plum, White Oak, Pin Oak, KY Coffeetree, White Pine, Northern Red Oak, Pawpaw, Hazelnut, Chestnut Oak. Any questions should be directed to Andrea at 222-5123 or oldhamswcd@gmail.com.

WHAT DO EXTENSION AGENTS DO IN WINTER?

  • Like many producers, agriculture agents attend classes and conferences to learn new practices to improve production. We also host and teach quite a few programs.
  • Agents still make farm visits in the winter. So far this month I’ve looked at property with new landowners to help them decide potential uses based on their interests. I’ve also visited several farms to pull hay samples for testing.
  • Agents often take leadership roles with different commodity groups, and winter is always a busy meeting season. I have the honor of serving as the Kentucky Forage & Grassland Council president this year. KFGC works closely with UK Extension to offer field days, grazing workshops, and conferences that will benefit producers. There are several coming up that will be of interest. If you would like to join or want to talk more about benefits of membership, just give me a call.
  • Agents like me often eat too much fattening food with the advent of hibernating weather. If you fall in that category, check out some healthy recipe ideas from my co-worker Chris Duncan.

FRUIT PRODUCTION INFO

growing apples

SCHOLARSHIP OPPORTUNITIES

  • Oldham Co. Conservation District is accepting applications for the H. Glenn Watson scholarship – applications must be postmarked by February 1. Contact Andrea at 222-5123 or oldhamswcd@gmail.com to get an application. (For Oldham County high school seniors only)
  • Louisville Agricultural Club is offering scholarships – see their web page for details, guidelines and applications.
  • Kentucky Ag in the Classroom offers a list of several other ag scholarships.

Written by Traci Missun, Agriculture & Natural Resources Agent at Oldham County Cooperative Extension. Traci addresses a variety of topics including farming, crops, pastures, and natural resources such as water and forestry.

Winter Oldham County 4-H News

The following 4-H Youth Development articles printed in the quarterly Oldham County Extension newsletter.

Achievement Award Recipients Recognized at 4-H Banquet

The 4-H Achievement Program recognizes members beginning in the sixth grade. The application is a detailed resume of the member’s 4-H and community involvement. Scholarships are available at each state level achieved. Congratulations to the following 4-H members who have completed a Clover Achievement Level:

Clover Level 1
Adelle Minor
Caroline Olds
Izzy Perez

Clover Level 2
Rebekah Anderson
Lilly Crook
Ella Olds

Clover Level 3
Maggie Anderson
Keirstin Kennedy
Emmett King
Ruby Mason
Coral Schulte
Ethan Willis

Clover Level 4
Noah Anderson

Clover Level 5
Rebekah Degnan
Beth Huffman
Olivia Minor

Interviewing for the Gold Award
Hannah Anderson
Sarah Griffin
Molly Logsdon
Olivia Minor
Karmen Woods

Those members who achieved Clover Level Three, Four, or Five will advance to the state level for judging. Good luck, 4-H’ers!

Santa’s Workshop 2016

4-h santa's workshop

Moms and Dads, do you need a little bit more time to get those last few presents wrapped or to shop for the last gift on your list? If so, send your kids to the extension office to have some fun and make gifts they can give to their friends and family.

Santa’s Workshop will be held at the Oldham County Extension office on Monday, December 19, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. We will make holiday gifts for friends and family. The $25 supply fee includes lunch. Open to boys and girls ages 8 to 12. Call 222-9453 to register.

4-H Communications Program Gets Underway in January

Youth develop organizational and critical thinking skills by learning the logical way to prepare a speech or present information through a demonstration. Competitive events give youth the opportunity to practice what they have learned and receive positive, constructive suggestions to improve.

Standing up and delivering a speech or presentation develops independence and confidence in youth. These experiences help youth overcome the fear of speaking in public. Members know that success is due to their preparation and presentation skills. Speaking in front of a large group or only a few individuals with ease gives people a sense of belonging and the opportunity to bond with other youth and adults. Many doors are opened in terms of personal friendships and professional advancement.

After mastering skills, gaining independence, and developing a sense of belonging, youth want to share what they’ve learned. They may initiate and lead a service project in the community or help their peers in various other ways. Generosity such as this is an innate part of all aspects of our 4-H Youth Development program.

A broad range of communications expertise is vital for today’s youth and tomorrow’s adults. 4-H Youth Development helps youth improve their quality of speech and association with others, whether one-on-one in a job interview or a keynote address in a banquet hall. Contact the Oldham County 4-H office at 222-9453 or amy.logsdon@uky.edu if your child is interested in participating in the 4-H Communication Program.

Source: Dr. Mark Mains, Kentucky 4-H Youth Development Assistant Director.

Attention Horse Club Members

In order to qualify for participation in any 4-H Competitive Horse Event, including 4-H horse shows, 4-H’ers must complete 6 hours of instruction taught by their 4-H Certified Horse Club Leader. The 6 instructional hours must be completed before April 15th and be documented by the Certified Horse Club Leader.

Please meet with your 4-H Certified Horse Club Leader now to ensure you will have your completed and documented 6 hours of instruction prior to April 15th. Members must also have their 4-H enrollment form submitted to the extension office on April 15th. Documentation of hours completed must accompany your registration or show paperwork.

4-H Thankful for Volunteers

The following 4-H Youth Development article printed in the quarterly Oldham County Extension newsletter.

4-h fun volunteers

4-H is Thankful for our Volunteers

Now is the time of the year when many of us reflect on all of the things for which we are grateful. In Oldham County 4-H, one of the things we are most grateful for is the volunteer support. Our volunteers are leaders, cheerleaders, mentors, and advocates for our youth. It is with their help and service that many young people find their voice or passion and become healthy, capable, caring, and productive adults.

Volunteers assist by leading club meetings, serving as camp counselors, judging speech and demonstration contests, and utilizing their unique interests, skills and abilities to serve the 4-H program and extend it to audiences which would otherwise be unserved. In the process, our volunteers shape future leaders by demonstrating leadership skills, instilling a sense of community, and offering a positive connection with someone from a different age group or generation.

4-h sewing volunteers

Whether they serve episodically or for many years, volunteers are a valuable and essential component of 4-H. Without their help, most 4-H programs would be impossible to deliver. While they do not serve for praise or recognition, many volunteers get a great deal of fulfillment, self-satisfaction, and enjoyment out of volunteer service, as they watch youth develop self-confidence, self-worth, and leadership skills.

4-h cooking volunteers

If you are a volunteer, thank you for all that you do. If you are interested in more information about learning how to volunteer with the Oldham County 4-H program, contact the extension office at 222-9453.

4-h engineering volunteers

Source: Ken Culp, District III, Principal Extension Specialist for Volunteerism, 4-H Youth Development

Oldham Farms Host Events

The following Agriculture and Natural Resources articles printed in the quarterly Oldham County Extension newsletter.

Recent Events on Oldham County Farms

oldham county land judging

Oldham County Hosts 4-H Land Judging

The State 4-H Land Judging Contest was held in Oldham County on August 19 at Jim Pearce’s farm. Around 100 students from all across Kentucky participated in the contest. Land judging is a way of appraising the physical nature and capability of soils. Skills learned in land judging transfer into careers for many students; the knowledge learned is used everyday by farmers, home builders, road builders, and conservationists. Thank you to the Pearce family for hosting this fun, educational event for Kentucky’s youth.

oldham ky land judging

2016 Regional Beef Field Day

On September 27, Oldham County Cattlemen’s President Maynard Stetten hosted UK Extension’s Regional Beef Field Day at his farm. 250 producers from the Louisville area attended and learned about Heavy Use Feeding Areas and Other Conservation Practices; Handling Facilities and Working Cattle in Reduced Stress Environments; and Antibiotics Regulation Changes (Veterinary Feed Directive). District Conservationist Kurt Mason, UK Extension Veterinarian Michelle Arnold, and UK Beef Specialist Darrh Bullock educated farmers about these practices, and Dr. Stetten told participants about his registered Angus cattle operation during a tour of the farm.

2016 regional beef field day

This annual field day is a cooperative effort of Extension agents and beef producers in the Louisville area and is supported by local Cattlemen’s Associations. Thanks to the Stettens for hosting this event.

regional beef field day

KY Native Plants in Bloom

Home to over twenty-five hundred plant species, Kentucky is a veritable wildflower garden. Kentucky native fall flowers include aster, goldenrod, and ironweed.

KY native aster

Aster

Fall Kentucky Native Flower

Several species of aster grow in Kentucky, including smooth blue aster, aromatic aster, New England aster, and white panicle aster.

Kentucky asters bloom from summer to fall in multiple colors: violet, white, blue, and pink. Depending on species and variety, they can grow from eighteen inches to five feet tall. Height can be controlled by pruning during summer, before buds develop. Be careful to remove no more than one-fourth of the total height at a time so as not to overstress the plants.

Asters are prone to powdery mildew and verticillium wilt, especially when overcrowded. Prevent these diseases by providing the plants with good air movement. Asters grow best in full sun but can tolerate partial shade.

KY native goldenrod

Goldenrod (Solidago)

Kentucky Native Flower in Bloom

Goldenrod, Kentucky’s state flower, blooms in the late summer and early fall. Thirty-one species of goldenrod are native to Kentucky, including two endangered species: White-Haired Goldenrod and Short’s Goldenrod.

It is a common misconception that goldenrod is responsible for fall allergies. In truth, it is the inconspicuous ragweed, blooming at the same time, that causes hay fever. Green and weedy in appearance, ragweed blends right into its surroundings. Its tiny, green flowers release waves of pollen into the air, contributing largely to fall allergies. Goldenrod, on the other hand, is insect-pollinated and therefore not the culprit of your allergic reaction.

Goldenrod blooms in full sun from late summer to early fall. Species vary from two to five feet in height. Some varieties will aggressively take over a garden, so goldenrod is not a common landscape plant. They are susceptible to several diseases, but most are easily avoidable if proper air circulation is provided and good watering practices are used.

KY native ironweed

Ironweed (Vernonia)

Kentucky Native Wildflower

From late summer through early fall, ironweed blooms in fields and along roads all across Kentucky. The most common species in the state is Tall Ironweed, but Missouri Ironweed and New York Ironweed also grow in some regions.

Ironweed can grow between four and six feet tall, but pruning in June can help keep the size manageable. It prefers growing in full sun and well-drained, moist soil. Few pests and diseases affect this Kentucky native wildflower. With an aggressively spreading root system, ironweed is perhaps the most troublesome pasture weed in Kentucky. Livestock avoid it due to its bitter taste.

Kentucky Wildflowers

Native Plants Attract Butterflies and Bees

Interested in planting wildflowers for pollinators? Aster, goldenrod, and ironweed all attract butterflies and bees.

For more information on using native plants to attract butterflies, check out the following resources:

Photographs by Greg Hume and SteampunkGypsy. Used under the Creative Commons License.

Written by Lauren State, Oldham County Master Gardener. Reviewed by Traci Missun, Oldham County Agriculture & Natural Resources Agent.