September 2018 Park of the Month: Colonial Lake

[__From our Zonal Horticulturist Kellen Goodell__](https://www.charlestonparksconservancy.org/staff-member/kellen-goodell)

You don’t have to wait until November 3rd to enjoy the beautiful scenery of Colonial Lake. As we gear up for Party for the Parks our Zonal Horticulturist Kellen Goodell has shared some of his favorite horticultural attractions happening right now at the park.

__Buckwheat (*Fagopyrum esculentum*)__

Buckwheat is an inexpensive, quick-to-establish plant typically used in farming. It is ornamentally attractive, and a fun experiment here in an urban setting to fill gaps and help suppress weeds. Buckwheat can be seeded in succession in summer until late fall and early winter. Its pretty flowers attract pollinators and flower over a long period of time. Buckwheat also helps to improve soil conditions, as it rejuvenates certain nutrient contents in the soil and also helps build better soil structure. Despite its common name, buckwheat is not a grass nor is it in the wheat family. It is in the Polygonaceae family along with Sorrel and Rhubarb.

__Ironweed (*Vernonia gigantea*)__

Native to eastern and southern USA, Ironweed is an herbaceous perennial in the Asteraceae/Daisy family. It has great structure and texture and is tall and sturdy. With bright rose-purple blooms, it blooms from August through Fall. Ironweed is great in natural gardens.

__Spotted Bee Balm (*Monarda punctata*)__

Known as the lone southern native species of Monarda, Spotted Bee Balm is a herbaceous perennial with soft and fragrant foliage. This mint family plant typically flowers in late summer and early fall. Its funky white and purple spotted flowers attract many bees.

__Firespike (*Odontonema strictum*) __

This lush green plant has bright red tubular flower spikes from late summer through fall. The firespike is great for brightening up shady areas and attracting lots of wildlife, including hummingbirds. You can also find it in bloom now at Tiedemann Park, McMahon Playground, and Allan Park.

__American Beautyberry (*Callicarpa americana*)__

This southeast native shrub has lush leaves on tender, slowly turning woody stems. Its flowers turn to green berries in summer and, by early fall, ripen to bold magenta. After their leaves drop in Autumn you can find berries still on their bare stems.

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