dandilion, henbit and motherwort, oh my!

Three common “weeds” in my garden which have turned from enemy to friend by a simple change of attitude–and more education on my part. Dandilions don’t need any introduction, and I think we all know they are edible, pretty, and good for bees and other insects. A friend once commented that if dandilions were rare and hard to grow they’d cost a lot of money and be very popular. I’m going to let them be this year. So, what is Henbit? Its latin name is lamium amplexicaule. It turns out that this little member of the mint family is edible, healthy, and also good for bees and insects. I noticed it in my northside (white) garden a few years ago, took it for a weed, and ripped it up –or tried to. It’s a very successful self-seeder and I didn’t make much of a dent in it.

It has many virtues–comes up before the snow even melts, and is already flowering, which is good news for the early bees/bugs. I did a little research and found out you can eat it raw in salads, make tea out of it, and cook it. So, why am I ripping it out? Plants seem to have no trouble coming up through it. It doesn’t get very big, and it’s a nice ground cover.

Then there’s motherwort, or leonurus cardaca. Another mint family, another plant I have a lot of, and always considered it a weed. This one self-sows very happily, and sends up tall stalks of tiny pale lavender flowers. It turns out you can also make the flowering tops into tea, and it’s supposed to be good for the heart, nervous tension, and, according to one herbal website, is “used by women during life transitions.”! great! But when those stalks dry they also have sharp hard prickly clumps that can hurt. I have not yet decided whether to stop pulling these up. They have deep, strong roots and take effort to pull.

The jury is still out on motherwort.

 

Late April in a late Spring

April started out very cold; it has only warmed up in the last few days. The thousands of daffodils in the garden came up, got snowed on, iced on, and rained on, without being in the least bothered. A model of patience. They stayed an inch above ground for weeks while temperatures hovered around 30 degrees. As soon as it warmed up they shot up and made buds–the first few opened this morning. Crocuses bloomed even earlier, some of them in the snow. 

Here are a few other garden scenes, the back yard where I did some raking:

under the apple tree, back yard

This is what daffodils have to deal with where I haven’t yet removed last year’s phlox stalks and other garden “debris”. 

Grass, leaves, old stalks–but it hasn’t stopped the chiondoxa from blooming, and doesn’t stop the daffodils either. Still, it’s nice to rake and neaten in the Spring:

The front yard has not been raked and a thick layer of maple leaves covers everything.

Bright green leeks and purple bluebell (mertensia) sprout in spite of the leaves.

leeks

bluebells

In the garden the first big show belongs to the daffodils. Now there are only buds–but in a week or so the place will explode in yellow.

Happy Spring!