Our garden kale decided to make a comeback this year, so this morning we decided to add our kale (flowers included) into a summer salad featuring romaine lettuce, arugula, white onion, red and yellow peppers, carrots, celery, and goat cheese. Splash a bit of homemade vinaigrette (we used raspberry vinegar and added EVVO, white balsamic vinegar, Italian seasoning, garlic, onion, and a blended fruit assortment of blueberries, blackberries, and strawberries to create our antioxidant power-house dressing) for a light and tasty addition to any meal.
I was out in the backyard observing some of the plants I have planted in the last two years. I noticed an evasive plant with a lot of scalloped leaves and pretty blue flowers. The plant seemed to attract bees and smells of strong mint. When I pick it up, it comes up easily, as it is not a deeply rooted plant. It seems to always grow in clumps around the yard. Usually, this plant is found in the shady parts of the gardens around the base of other plants. It does pull up easily and with the regular pulling of weed plants around the flowerbed, it can be pulled up, but never goes away. It comes back year after year.
I looked up the plant in several plant guides and found it to have many names, and seems to be referred to as Ground Ivy most of the time. I kind of liked the one name, Creeping Charlie as this plant can quickly spread to take over any flower bed. Mowing does not stop it from continued growth.
I like the plant as it is a wonderful green color with interesting leaves. When it blooms with blue flowers, it is actually very attractive. I just pull some of it up when it starts becoming evasive.
On the Scientific side of my research, I found this Ground Ivy ( Glechoma hederacea) has quite a history. Historically, Ground Ivy was used as an herb, eaten in salads, and used to make medicines and tea. It was also used to flavor beer. The plant is very high in iron. Young leaves and sprouts are eaten like spinach. Tasting a leaf produces a very strong minty flavor.
Although technically a weed, to me, Creeping Charlie is simply another interesting plant in the backyard.
I will always wait for the blue violets to grow in my yard. I do not have regular pruned grass; I just let it grow and mow it. In early spring, the wild violets congregate in my yard in various locations. Sometimes, they appear in one place in the front or backyard and sometimes in surprising places in the yard where I would not expect them. I like them; they would be unwelcome in a yard treated with chemicals. I just consider them to be gifts from nature.
Science gives them the name, (Viola odorata). They grow in groups of heart-shaped leaves with beautiful blue flowers that just are so delicate. They continue to seed, low to the ground. What seems to be dead flowers really are the flowers reproducing seeds. I noticed after mowing, they continue to grow. The seed is spread so easily that they can get transported all over the yard.
If you do not have a treated lawn with chemicals, an added feature of violets is that they are good for food presentations, and both leaves (heart-shaped), flowers, and stems are edible. I like to include the flowers on desserts or in salads to add that wild touch. This is also a plant you could pot grow, especially if you treat the yard with chemicals or have pets in the yard.
I hope that your yard gives you a treat with these beautiful wildflowers.
It still amazes me the number of plants that are in someone’s backyard. I had this one particular wildflower grow from a small plant to a foot tall in a few days. I let it grow to see what it would look like through its stages of growth. I was rewarded by my patience with a pretty cluster of flowers atop a very strong stem with kite-like leaves. It was very green and healthy-looking. You might say the plant was, “Wild Strong!” I encourage plants like this in my backyard. I set up a mystery of search and learn using my skills of observation and research. I find the plant in a book or on the internet and learn about its life cycle and how it fits in with other cycles.
When my wife and I looked it up we found it to be classified as a Butterweed. You find this weed more to the South but seems to be evasive. Vacant farmlands are covered with fields of these yellow-colored flowers until the cycle of the plant is finished. More than likely the plants get plowed under with the planting season. They always come back.
On the science side of terminology, the plant is named (Packera glabella), a name given by the followers of Carl Linnaeus, a Swedish botanist, who developed a classification system to name animals and plants. So, the weed we know as Butterweed has a scientific name, and is more important than being just a weed. This weed is important to the South for providing food for crayfish; the flower feeds many pollinators that are attracted by its bright yellow flower.
It is a happy reminder that when you want that perfect lawn, you are missing out on the beautiful weeds like Dandelion and Violet and many others that give beauty and natural life to our backyards. They can be tamed and sometimes used as an added floral to attract beautiful birds and helpful insects.
Purity comes to nature
A wedding gown for a bride
Not yet tarnished by insect or mold
It faces the sun and cherishes the rain
It perfumes the air
Hoping to attract a pollinator
To pass on its seed.
It is called MOONSTONE a tea rose. It seems to glow with white pearly petals and that are pink edged. It has many blossoms that are held by beautiful green veined leaves. I wandered out on a midsummer’s eve when the moon was high and bright. I saw its blossoms turned toward the light, they seemed to glow in the night and toward the brightness of the moon’s light.
Sometimes we are attracted to beauty. It is the clothing, the physical features, the way someone or something presents itself. I think in nature everything can attract us. Even the lowly fungus can have a beauty all its own. To appreciate this earth one must consider the detail using all our senses, and develop them. The rose has thorns, soft colorful petals, water that drips from its green leaves in the morning dew. Most of all a perfume that you can never forget. It is something you can reflect upon.