Monches Farm, LLC
5890 Monches Road
(August 17, 2012):
Eupatorium 'Gateway' (Gateway Joe Pye Weed)
This is another of our lovely North American natives that was considered by most gardeners to be a weed (common name Joe Pye WEED) until it gained immense popularity in Europe and was finally allowed to earn its place in the gardens of its homeland. The parent plant can be found growing throughout the Midwestern and Northeastern United States in sunny wet areas, often along stream banks, as well as in semi shaded moist woodland areas. It bears huge flat topped silvery pink flower heads in late summer atop green 6’-8’ stems. It is an important late season nectar source for native butterflies and is usually adorned with several of them at any given time.
The cultivar ‘Gateway’ thrives in the same growing conditions as its parent and is also an excellent butterfly attractor. The difference is that ‘Gateway’ has several characteristics that make it a slightly more desirable garden plant. For one thing it is considered a “dwarf” (a relative term!) at only 5’-6’ in height. The flower heads are also denser and are a richer raspberry purple color. Finally, the green stems of the parent have been transformed to a deep burgundy that offsets the flower color fabulously.
If you’ve got the space to accommodate this large scale plant we highly recommend it as an attractive late season focal plant with the added benefit of being excellent for attracting butterflies to the garden.Note: Gardeners may want to label their Eupatorium so as to avoid digging it up in spring as it is extremely late to break dormancy, often not showing growth until June here in Wisconsin