We don’t see as much ‘Queen Ann’s Lace’ growing along our Virginia roadsides as I remember from childhood. It was actually my mother who commented on this last weekend, as we were out driving together. I can remember cutting stems of this lovely wildflower as a child, bringing it home, and wanting to put it on the kitchen table in a vase.
She was usually less than enthusiastic in those days, maybe because of all of the little insects still enjoying the nectar rich flowers. I often brought home wild flowers and grasses from my wanderings, and never quite understood her concern with the ‘bugs’ they harbored.
Wild carrot is considered invasive in some states, but not in Virginia. It is one of those common plants that immigrated to North America with the 17th Century European colonists. I know a place along the Colonial Parkway where the wild plant grows untamed, along with other wildflowers.
This is the second spring that I’ve planted plain old grocery store carrots out into our upper sunny garden in early spring, wanting these gorgeous white flowering plants for summer.
You remember that a carrot is a biennial. The seeds planted in spring result in a carrot root, usually harvested as a vegetable. Were you to leave the carrots unharvested over winter, this is the plant you’d have the following year. Organic farms still do this, sometimes, to generate their own seeds.
But I have simply bought some carrots and planted them. I got a bag of ‘rainbow’ carrots from Trader Joes in late February. I’m curious to learn whether the plant or the flowers will be different, depending on whether the carrot was yellow, orange or purple. What do you think?
My planting technique was to simply open a space in the earth with my hori hori blade, as deeply as I could, and slip a carrot into the hole. The carrot takes over, from there, and one day this spring I noticed this beautiful, fine foliage growing up through the fading daffodil leaves.
We will enjoy the show for many weeks; longer if I remember to deadhead the spent flowers. Once the plant sets seeds, it has accomplished its life work. As a biennial, it won’t return for another year.
But that’s OK. We can fill the garden with flowers again next year for the price of a bag of carrots.
Woodland Gnome 2018
“It is easier to tell a person what life is not,
rather than to tell them what it is.
A child understands weeds that grow from lack of attention, in a garden.
However, it is hard to explain the wild flowers
that one gardener calls weeds,
and another considers beautiful ground cover.”
Shannon L. Alder