Although Goldenrods are instantly recognizable, unfortunately you don't often see them in gardens. Which is a shame, because they provide a great burst of brilliant yellow in the fall, just when you think the bright colors of spring and summer are long gone. Their abundant small flowers lined up along the top 6–12" of wands that can reach up to 3' in length (sometimes straight up, more often benefiting from support) are enjoyed by butterflies and bees. Below you can see a Mournful Duskywing (photo 2) and a Fiery Skipper (photo 3) enjoying the blooms.
If happy, this perennial will expand into ever-larger clumps through creeping rootstocks (ours is becoming a bit of a bully). They go mostly dormant in winter, which is a good time to cut them back to the ground. They take full sun or light shade, and benefit from some extra summer water. We've been told that the seeds are good only when fresh, though we've yet to get them to germinate.