Weed or Flower?

Phyllis Lifestyle 44 Comments

I finally have in captivity a Queen Anne’s lace plant! I have been trying for years to get one to grow in my flower garden. I think it is one of the loveliest plants that grows in the South. It is just like looking at an intricate lace! It is used now in many wedding bouquets and arrangements and is just a beautiful accompaniment to larger flowers.

Weed or flower? I have thought about this many times: that what I see as a beautiful flower, others see as a weed and vice versa. The same could be said of lantana. In South America it is a weed, and here, we pay dearly for it for our gardens.

I know you have all seen the cute photo of a dandelion being blown into the wind. The caption reads, “A weed or 1,000 wishes?” It is all in the perspective, isn’t it? I have always found eccentric people very intriguing. Many times, it’s a person that others might shun because they are a little different that I find fascinating. I can remember vividly a lady that I met at the quilt market many years ago. She dressed in the most outlandish outfits. People loved seeing her, as she always had a story about her wardrobe. It was nothing for her to have a spray of flowers on her jackets with ribbons hanging out of every pocket. Some people would just laugh and walk away, but I just loved her commentary on life.

She was not old, but old enough to have great experiences. She said that a person should never take themselves seriously. She had outlandish hats with birds on top and dangling earrings down to her shoulders, all of which she made herself. She spent hours making these masterpiece garments, and they were art creations.

I will never forget her excitement when she announced the engagement of her son to a lovely young lady. I asked her, “What are you going to wear to the wedding?” and she quickly replied, “Something just like I have on in hot pink.” And you know me; I couldn’t let that go, so I inquired if perhaps a more traditional mother-of-the-groom outfit might work better. She said the most profound statement and laughed: “Just what is a traditional mother of the groom? My son has never seen me dressed any other way and wouldn’t know me!” Well, you know she was right!

Weeds or flowers? Both are charming and both treasured by all!

Comments 44

  1. I used to live in Nevada County, CA…graduated from NUHS. Small world! I now live in Metro Atlanta. Miss the small mountain towns of Nevada County.

  2. We have Queen Anne’s Lace growing very abundantly here in Nevada County, CA. I see it grow along side the roads. I sometimes pick it and bring it home and enjoy it in a vase. It lasts quite awhile.

  3. I didn’t plan to mention anything about her great love for music but I thought of your wonderful talent, Phyllis and thought you might enjoy reading about some of Mother’s love for music! I love all your articles as well as magazines!

  4. Wonderful article! Just thoroughly enjoyed it. I also love Queen Anne’s Lace and for me, it is a flower…because it is so beautiful! I often think of fairies when I see it, which is rare now. I can just see the little beings sitting on the flowers and flirting about! This is a flower that needs no accompanying…just ethereal and simple beauty personified. It truly makes a bouquet so pretty. How about Queen Anne’s Lace, white roses. and Lily of the Valley and a tad of an ethereal green…maybe Maiden Hair Fern?? I love The Ribbon In My Journal!

  5. Queen Anne’s lace is wild carrot! Plant carrots and let them go to seed and you will grow essentially Queen Anne’s Lace.

  6. All of these comments & stories are nice.
    I love Queen Anne’s Lace whether it’s a weed or not. I still love Pussy Willows but they are so hard to find.
    Maybe I just love all flowers.

  7. I feel very privileged to have Queen Anne’s Lace in my back doorstep garden. I’ve never planted it however. I believe God allowed a bird to deposit the seed just in the right garden. It mingles beautifully with roses, hollyhocks, daylilys and purple larkspur. It is also a host plant for black swallow tail butterfly. It has never jumped around in my yard but then again we are located in drought stricken western Kansas. I’ve always considered it a blessing in this flower bed. Loved your article on it Phyllis.

  8. Would love to attend another Southern Lady Conference. You have a gift for organizing events. The speakers you select are from the finest in their field. They are so informative and encouraging to the attendees.

    Please include a piano concert, everyone would so enjoy your music. God has blessed you in so many areas of talent and expertise, it would be such a grand opportunity to let His light shine through you.

    Anything I can do to assist in any capacity to help this come to fruition, count me in.

  9. I now have Queen Anne’s Lace in my San Diego garden. My husband remembers it as a weed when he grew up in Chicago. I gather it each few days, along with a bouquet of sweet peas and gift my 95 years young mother. Life is in the eyes of the beholder…..and I prefer to see flower rather than weed ❤️

  10. What a wonderful way to look at a weed that is beautiful. I will look upon dandelions in a whole new way.

  11. Had the pleasure of meeting you as well as your adorable parents at a Southern Lady conference. I think back on those conferences with such wonderful memories. I always attended alone but met so many wonderful people that included me in their circle. Thank you for offering that opportunity.

    1. Thank you, we are toying with the idea of a Southern Lady Celebration in 2019~!! What do you think?

  12. My parents were married in 1935. I understand they paid the preacher $5.00. They couldn’t afford any wedding pictures until a year later.
    My mother’s bouquet was Queen Ann’s Lace. I really wanted to include that on her blanket but when she was buried one day before her 94th birthday it was the wrong season for Queen Ann’s Lace. My cousin came to me after the funeral and said he didn’t know whether it was appropriate to say you enjoyed a funeral but he certainly did. We thought of a lot of funny things that the pastor told about her. She absolutely loved music. Her first music lessons after many years of begging were given by a blind lady for 25 cents. The woman had an organ and gave music much too advanced for her. She walked about 6 blocks to the lessons. They finally got a piano in their home where a lady came & taught several people at their house. Probably their lessons were free. My uncle was equally talented but just loved to have fun. He played mostly by ear and when time came for his lesson, he was usually off somewhere playing and couldn’t be found. Years later he somehow constructed an illegal radio station up in the attic of their barn and secretly attached a microphone to mother’s piano. The screw holes are still there. Can you imagine? Of course that didn’t last long after the FCC made him cut it off. During the time my mother and daddy were dating no one had any money. So my daddy would buy a piece of popular sheet music for $.35 and write on it “from Grady to Ruby Lee, 1935” & bring it over for her to play. She had many years of training with a number of teachers. She taught numerous children over the years and loved every minute. We had some of it on display at her service where a very talented friend played several of those pieces. One friend called her “Mrs. Job.”

  13. This is my favorite story yet from The Ribbon in my Journal. It made me cry. Just heartfelt and wonderful!

  14. What a fun story on the outgoing dresser. Wear and plant what you like. Like Queen Anne’s lace, if you love it it doesn’t matter if it falls in the weed or flower category. Live life and dance to the beat of your own drum! Thanks for sharing the fun story.

  15. Queen Anne’s Lace grew all over the homeplace where I grew up. So did dandelions, also a weed. Every Mother’s Day when we all congregated at the farm, the large lawn and orchard beside the house would be a carpet of dandelions. It was always a cheerful sight, that bright yellow signifying the return of the sun. I live in Canada and about ten years ago my province was overcome with some kind of invasive weed along the roadsides which had the most beautiful purple flowers. I remember taking a train to Toronto and watching out the window at this feast of flowers along the railroad tracks. They are mostly gone now because of a spraying program. I do however dislike those orange Day-lilies that grow all over starting in July – we call them “ditch lilies” here, mostly because I dislike orange flowers. So I guess whether something is a weed or a flower is a matter of whether you like it or not!

  16. They say Queen Anne’s Lace is a weed as are so many other plants – I have heard Wisteria is a weed…. and that is beautiful, too. Many years ago when I taught art and did many creative things, I dried and pressed Queen Anne’s Lace for framing and also colored it. Coloring can be done by cutting the blooms, placing them in a vase or jar with food coloring in the water, and the blooms will absorb the color. When I did this in school with children, they thought this was really a neat thing!! And yes, it does grow wild in Pennsylvania – along the roads and in the fields and just “ripe” for the picking.

  17. Beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder. Foe me it’s not really a matter of weed vs. flower. I love all plants and flowers but I avoid invasive species like Morning Glory even though the flowers on it are lovely, it will take over everything if you let it in! I especially enjoy edible flowers, they add an elegance to meals.

  18. Thank you so much Phyllis for your wonderful articles, each one more varied than the last. I am much better at having an eye for decorating my home inside than outside. We do have various gardens of flowers, hanging baskets, and planters, however it never seems to be the way, I had envisioned it. Yet perhaps I have expectations that are a little too high. So over the last few years, I have just enjoyed the colors and beauty as it is. I do love to pick flowers and make fresh cut arrangements for my home. I often see Queen Anne’s Lace growing wild here in Missouri. It is always so gorgeous. In an arrangement, the delicate white just sets off the other colors.

  19. Lovely! One of my very favorite wildflowers. In Texas there appear to be different versions; your is my favorite.
    I have no connection to Wildseed Farms (located near the Texas Hill Country) but the pleasure of having discovered them many years ago and the delight of visiting their fields and giftshop many times. Any wildflower lover would enjoy at least perusing their catalog.

  20. Phyllis, your Queen Anne’s Lace plant is beautiful! Last year I bought over 1,000 seeds (very cheap) on Amazon from The Dirty Gardener but only “scattered” about half of them bordering our back woods a few weeks ago. I have areas in the front where it could be pretty but I’ve been hesitating for fear it would be considered a weed. You could start a new trend for all of us! If Phyllis Hoffman has Queen Anne’s Lace in her garden, that’s good enough for me! I think I’ll have to scatter the rest in some of the front beds tomorrow! I was told the first year would be mostly greenery but the next year should be profuse with those exquisite white lace flowers! I also love your story about the adorable quilt market lady! What a treasure!

    1. I wish I could get hundreds of these to grow. They are so lacy and I love them. Maybe my lone plant will put out seeds!!

  21. In Kansas it grows wild on road sides – thus considered a weed – but I’ve always thought it very delicate & pretty. I’m sure it’s something that once established in my part of the country would get out of hand in the garden very quickly.

  22. Queen Anne’s Lace and tall orange Daylillies used to grow wild on the railroad tracks in our small town. It made the tracks so pretty when they both bloomed. I remember asking my mother, who was an avid gardener, and had beautiful flower beds, who planted all those pretty flowers at the railroad tracks, and she said, oh those are wild flowers, they grow there without being planted and cared for. I was so in awe that they were so pretty, and nobody had to plant them there and take care of them. Queen Anne’s Lace has always been one of my favorite wild flowers and Sweet Annie is also a favorite flower of mine for dried arrangements. Such beauty and they always return every year. Love your many articles and varied subjects in your blog.

  23. I love Queen Anne’s lace, too. I have tried to grow it without success. I remember my Mother used to dye it to put in floral arrangements for parties, showers, etc. Congrats on getting it to grow!

  24. Phyllis – I’m with Gloria – you have to tell us how you got it to root! I’ve dried and shaken seeds to no avail. Can’t wait to hear more!

    1. I bought three plants at a nursery and only this one lived. My husband thinks you could probably dig them, but you have to get a huge root ball as the root goes deep. So I really don’t know, but I hope to give it another try.

  25. When I try to share this page with my friends on Facebook it posts a message that states “Page no longer available”. Did something happen to this posting? It shows on my computer and in my browser but it won’t post to Facebook. Has something happened?

  26. Sometimes, what we call weeds are native plants. They were there long before we came along and planted what we wanted! But, I have heard it said that a weed is just a plant in the wrong place. Well, I am not so sure about that one myself, because the weeds I have are awful! Foxtails, burrs, and this kind which has a sticker like a miniature torture device:)
    They get in your socks and pantlegs and will redeposit in other clothes in the laundry!

    Lantana? I buy those and plant them! Hummingbirds and the Monarch butterflies like them. Each year, when the Monarch make their way south to Mexico for the winter, they stop by my lantanas, and then they come back on their way north for the summer.

  27. Queen Anne’s lace is indeed a wild weed but in my book is a beautiful flower. Once it’s gets going in your yard you won’t be able to get rid of it. It has a really long root. That being said, my mother made a big beautiful flower arrangements using a big yellow bowl filled with chicken wire to hold wild growing daylilies and Queen Anne’s lace. These days my eighty year old sister cuts the Queen Anne’s lace and dries it. At CHRISTMAS she decorates her CHRISTMAS tree with it. It is so dainty.

  28. I too have always thought of it as a tall lovely bloom.. I was told it is also a wild carrot family member, if you pull it out of the ground you will smell the carrot……..it is one of those plants that loves to travel from one part of the garden to the other…. well at least it does up here in the Minnesota/Wisconsin area.

  29. I too love Queen Ann’s Lace.
    How did you get it to grow. I have picked wild ones, planted and shaken the seeds all to no avail! Please help!

    1. Gloria i think you could dig them but you have to get a big root ball. I bought three plants at a nursery and only one lived. I will keep trying!!!

  30. Phyllis, I am such a fan of Queen Anne’s lace and have it growing in my pasture. I love to cut it before the tractor takes down its lacy blooms. I love your story, what a fun lady she must be!

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