Flowers tend to be few and far between at the end of the season, and stiff-leaved goldenrod is a boon for all sorts of pollinators who might otherwise go hungry. It is a tall upright plant with leathery grey green leaves and a broad flat flower head consisting of hundreds of tightly packed yellow flowers. It is the air craft carrier of landing platforms in the flower world (as far as little pollinators are concerned).
Goldenrods get a bad reputation as being impossible to control, but stiff-leaved goldenrod bucks the trend. Unlike its rhizomatous cousins, stiff-leaved goldenrod plants maintain a singular 'clump' and rely on seeds to spread. Decided you have enough stiff-leaved goldenrod in your garden? Clip the seed heads before the seeds take flight in the fall. Problem solved.
Stiff-leaved goldenrod wants full sun and tolerates a wide range of soils including clay. It prefers a little extra water, but not as much as Canada goldenrod. Think 'meadow' vs stream-side. It will tolerate intermittent drought. Because of its versatility and pollinator value, it is an excellent naturalizer. Mega bonus: deer won't eat it!
Some suggested companions include taller grasses like great basin wild rye and bluebunch wheatgrass, black-eyed susan, narrow-leaf coneflower, and white sage.
Matt Lavin from Bozeman, Montana, USA, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
James Steakley, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons