Today’s blog post is about plants. It’s about flowers and weeds and invasive species. The concept of a weed is very subjective.
What one person thinks of as a wild flower and worthy of a space in the garden is a weed to someone else and deserving of eradication. I had one gardening customer who didn’t like daisies and wanted me to remove all of them. He also didn’t like mint and had me dig up all of the mint. The mint was persistent and kept returning, much to his chagrin.
Some plants that have been characterized as weeds are actually helpful and even nutritious.
As an example, dandelions are very unwelcome in most gardens and lawns. People go out of their way to eradicate dandelions, to the point of attacking them with monumental blasts of lawn chemicals. It’s really not a good idea. Dandelions attract pollinators to the garden, while lawn chemicals are not bee friendly.
|Thistle is seen mostly
as a weed. It is unsightly
in gardens and annoying
to remove because of its
devices. I usually chop
it down with pruners before
I dig out the roots. Thistle,
however, does attract bees.
Dandelions are also highly nutritious: they offer loads of vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C, and more. Another nutritious plant that people think of as a weed is wood sorrel. It looks like clover, except that it has heart shaped leaves, instead of rounded leaves. It has a light lemony flavor and is high in vitamin C and also has some vitamin A. It is a great addition to a salad.
Invasive plants, on the other hand, are yuck. There are numerous types of invasive plants. Some of them are actually dangerous to touch. One of the most dangerous is giant hogweed. According to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, contact with giant hogweed can result in permanent scarring, blistering, blindness, and severe skin and eye irritation. It is far worse than poison ivy. It is a member of the carrot family and is a very large plant, with giant leaves and flowers. If you see it, take a photograph but do not touch! Only specially trained people are able to eradicate giant hogweed. If you are in New York State and you see giant hogweed, call the DEC hotline at 1-845-256-3111.
Another invasive plant is purple loosestrife.
It is quite attractive but it causes problems for native animals and plants by forming dense, impenetrable stands, which chokes out native vegetation. The best thing to do with that is to eradicate. You can just dig it up by the roots.
Today’s question: what are some of your favorite plants? What plants do you dislike having in your garden and why?