Even as a child, I thought fireweed was one of the prettiest flowers going. Each tiny bloom in a spire of blooms is beautiful on its own – together, they’re just gorgeous. In any kid’s wildflower bouquet, fireweed is the showpiece.
I admired the large swaths of purple along Alberta’s ditches, meadows & forest edges.
Now, living on the West Coast, they delight me along hiking trails & even shorelines. In fact, I’ve seen them growing pretty much everywhere in BC, except in the arid Okanagan.
When I found some growing in the gravel of a parking lot, I figured they had to be tough enough to grow in our yard.
(I ‘rescued’ a few.)
It turns out that deer enjoy the young shoots. The fireweed flourished, planted at the base of a new tree that we’d caged to protect from deer too.
Aside from the beauty factor, there are a few other reasons I grow this perennial in our garden:
- The blooms start low in the tier & gradually open further and further up as the summer progresses, providing color over a long stretch.
- Bees & butterflies love fireweed– as do hummingbirds…. honey producers, tea & jelly makers…. herbalists…
- Even when it’s ‘gone to seed’ it’s decorative. The fluffy seedheads carry the seasonal interest well into the fall with a funky Halloween vibe.
- AND fireweed isn’t a super-thirsty plant. Yes, it wants some water, and can even go crazy in a moist setting. But it does just fine through our long dry summers without anything more than what it gets when I’m dragging around the hose. No fuss.
Nature is a great gardener.
What was there to admire after fires wiped out Yellowstone?
Or after Mt. St. Helens erupted?
Or even after London was bombed in WWII?
Nature is beautiful & tenacious. Celebrate fireweed. There will always be a place for Chamerion angustifolium in our garden.