Who Planted This?


Whenever I drive around and see stands of this plant by the roadside, I always wish I could stop the car and get photos. This is one of my all-time favorite plants. Never mind that most people consider it a noxious weed that grows in roadside ditches. I find it just beautiful, with its huge stalks of yellow flowers that open slowly over a period of weeks.

You can see that this was probably bird planted. It’s in a little weedy area that’s a bit of a no-man’s land on the edge of my wildlife garden and my neighbor’s lawn. I try to weed out the truly bad stuff that appears there–ragweed and the invasives–but I can see in the photo that there’s some bittersweet (for a change) sneaking up in there. I’ll have to try to whack it back.  Getting it all out is near impossible.

Ditto for the Virginia Creeper in the area. I don’t even try because that’s a great bird plant. I just try to keep it from running amok through the garden.

This plant is a verbascum, although don’t ask me variety. There’s a second coming up right behind it which makes me sure it was bird-planted. I learned in Colorado that the call it Miner’s Tallow because they would use the stalks for “candles.” And we think mining is a tough occupation today!

Herbalists will boil and strain the leaves (which are felty) and use them for coughs and bronchitis.  And I’ve heard tell that campers will improvise and use the leaves as toilet tissue. Talk about tough! Whew!

I believe I will just enjoy the flowers in the garden and by the roadside, thank you very much!


5 thoughts on “Who Planted This?

  1. Benjamin July 6, 2015 / 11:53 am

    My Granny always called it Moses’ Blanket and I love seeing it doing its thing in meadows and fields. I always get a chuckle when I see Virginia Creeper for sale in a nursery, considering how much we fight to keep it from taking over our place 😉

  2. The Chatsworth Lady July 6, 2015 / 2:08 pm

    I inherited one with the Temporary Garden, and it was at one edge of a raised bed, threatening to elbow an adjacent innocent hosta into oblivion. Tempted to immediately whack it back, I did let it flower first though. No idea whether it was planted on purpose by the “formers” or not, but I suspect it was a volunteer.

  3. gardendaze July 6, 2015 / 4:08 pm

    Wow, thank you both for your great comments today. I was off lecturing on pollinators so I have been on a bit of a digital detox today. It’s been delightful.

    I know exactly what you mean about the Virginia Creeper because we fight it here too. We let it stay in some places because it is so good for the birds & the pollinators but keeping it out of everything is a battle.

    Interesting that the verbascum isn’t playing nicely with your garden plants. Where ever it comes up here, it’s never too close to anything I am deliberately growing. But of course a weed is just a plant in the wrong place, no matter the plant, and I am sure many people would agree this plant is a weed!

    Thank you both for being such faithful readers and commenters.


  4. roberta4949 July 6, 2015 / 8:39 pm

    looks like common mullien, I see it in my pastures sometimes, pretty flowers.

  5. gardendaze July 7, 2015 / 6:59 am

    Yes, that’s exactly what it is. And as you can tell by my above 2 comments, it’s either a weed to you or a flower, depending on where nature puts it!

    Thanks for reading & commenting.


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