This week when Anita, Mary and I were working with Youth Works, one of the kids, in exasperation said, “How do you decide whether it is a weed or a flower?” This question has been nagging at me all week and I still do not have a clear answer. Like many things in life, there is no black and white answer.
We have Wild Carrot in the Ski Bowl Garden and I consider it a weed even though it was put in by one of our gardeners and it has a very pretty white lacy flower. It spreads extremely fast, invading and choking out other flowers, so in this garden, I consider it a weed. Then there is the pretty weed that is called Butter and Eggs. It was at the Ski Bowl before we started the garden and I thought that it was very delicate and pretty, it kind of looks like snapdragons with orange centers in a yellow flower that goes up the club like spikes. Every time I saw one I would move it to a single location and now, after 4 years, we have a nice little patch of these sunny stalks. Flower or Weed?
Last year I was weeding the newly planted Globe Thistle plant and one of the chaperones from Youth Works said she could not understand why we would want them in our garden because in Minnesota they worked on eradicating them from the highways because they are considered invasive. Weed or Flower?
So what is the answer? The beauty is in the eyes of the beholder! If you love it, it is your flower. If it frustrates you because it will not behave, it is a weed. I feel that there are some aggressive plants that I can work with. We have Black Cohosh and Artemesia that are very aggressive so we planted them in a patch together with rocks as a back drop and a path all around. They are beautiful right now, when the wind blows, they sway in the wind and look great. We work at keeping them confined. Wild Carrot is too happy in the garden. It is spread by seeds and every flower sends out hundreds of seeds every year so I cannot deal with it.
My garden at home is planted very neatly in the spring but when the Black Eyed Susans come up as weeds, I cannot pull them, and when the sunflowers come up from last winter’s bird feeders, I cannot pull them either. Therefore, I have one of the wildest gardens you could ever see. They are both in bloom now and it is crazy. As soon as they are done I will pull them out and my garden will be much less wild but in the mean time, I am really enjoying the spectacle.
Happy gardening everyone!