Monday, August 9, 2010

When is a weed not a weed?

When it is something you enjoy in your garden.

The dictionary definition of a weed is: a plant considered undesirable, unattractive, or troublesome, especially one growing where it is not wanted, as in a garden.

So, in essence, a weed is something you don't want. And technically speaking, Queen Anne's Lace is considered among many social circles to be a weed. But look at it! The flower is actually quite beautiful and truly resembles a bit of lace. I've seen it as a companion plant in cottage style gardens or a wildflower setting  where it fits in quite well. The wispy foliage, tall slender stems and white flower heads that sway in the breeze are charming in the right place.

Another common weed is Chicory with its blue flowers on slender stems. You can normally find this along the roadside, in parking lots or any deserted area.

It is actually has a beautiful blue flower and looks quite pretty on its own. In fact, I just happened to drive by a house in the neighborhood that had a Chicory "shrub" growing next to the driveway as if it were an ornamental plant:

And the thistle. Scotland's national flower. Prickly and scary looking, but somehow handsome and strong with the spiky green foliage and purple-pink flower head.

When I took this photo, the owner of the garden was watering it and looked at me sheepishly. "I know this is a weed," he said, "but just look at it! It is so magnificent!"

Indeed it is. A weed is something you don't want. A weed is something that makes you cringe.  But if it makes you smile, well then, its just another flower in your garden.


  1. Great post... I would let Queen Anne's Lace bloom any day in my gardens.

  2. Sheepish? Thistle? How can you put national flower and weed in one sentence? Where is your patriotism, nationalism?? ;>)
    That thistle flower is such an icon and epitome of beauty! Water away!

  3. Meredehiut - I agree. I love Queen Anne's Lace.

    Elephant - beauty is in the eye of the beholder, no? I think the thistle is a very cool looking flower.

  4. If we remove all plants that have the word 'weed' in their names, our gardens will look a bit ...emptier. Good post, Kate!

  5. People throw the word 'weed' around far too carelessly. Where do we think our garden plants came from anyway? Derived from what once were weeds to someone else. I've considered transplanting Queen Anne's Lace to my yard.

  6. In Australia the term weed has come to mean any plant that threatens our native flora, so many self-seeding or invasive garden plants or plants spread readily by birds (although beautiful)are declared weeds.

  7. Tatyana - so true!

    Marguerite - Have you ever had any success with transplanting Queen Anne's Lace? Every time I try, they die on me.

    Missy - I agree with you. A weed is something you don't want and if its being invasive and a bully to the other plants, its a weed! ;)

  8. I deeply agree with your post, and am happy about your blog!

  9. I love queen anne's lace, too, as do our pollinators. I'd welcome it with open arms if it re-seeded itself in my gardens.


Thanks for leaving a comment! Even if I don't reply to each comment, please know that I do read every one of them and truly enjoy hearing from you!