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!