Spring has finally arrived in Kentucky, and instead of ring-around-the-rosy we have a ring of golden ragwort (Senecio obovatus) around our pin oak tree (Quercus palustris). Last spring I planted several plants in the mulched area around the tree and I’ve been surprised at how quickly they filled the entire area.
I was primarily interested in the dark-green basal leaves that provide an attractive evergreen ground cover. However, the bright golden blossoms of spring are certainly an added bonus. I will continue to use golden ragwort as a year-round ground cover that does especially well in dry shade. However, given its tendency to spread, I will be cautious about planting it with other small plants.
At close range, I find the blossoms quite beautiful and think they deserve a nicer-sounding name than ragwort.
When it has finished blooming and begins to look scraggly, I will cut off the flower stalks and continue to enjoy it as a ground cover. Then next spring I’ll look forward to seeing the green turn to gold again.