Which plant is a weed?

Both plants have flowers. One will have a tall stalk with flowers, the other is an annoying vine with white or purple flowers.

Every now and then I will talk to friends about my garden and we get into the conversation of  “is it a weed or a flower?”

Well, how do you know? Personally, I wait until the plant is a few inches tall if I do not recognize it right off. In my perennial bed I have plants that come back every year and I know them right off. My Hen and chicken (Sedum) has started off quite nice as have the two colors of Obedience plants that live happily with the various Black-Eye Susans.

But there are always a few I am never quite sure of.  I took a few pictures from my garden today to illustrate how easy it is to mess up identification.

Wait, you are saying to yourself. I thought this blog was about family and movies and the occasional alcoholic beverage. Well, it is. But when you live in a cottage, one should have a cottage-type garden. Plus I have noticed that as soon as you bring out the plants to be planted, the shovel and the mulch, kids seem to want to be right there with you. I dig a hole, they put in the plant, we all move the dirt back to the right place.  It works nicely.

This is our daughter’s first year in 4-H. She is doing visual arts and crops. We will grow corn in the back yard. I think that is perfect for her to do this year. One of the other things that was done in the yard today was her little plot of land was heaped with compost and then turned over. In six weeks it will be ready for her seeds.

Now back to the quiz.

Did you figure out the first picture yet? Both are hardy plants, over winter nicely. Both will have flowers. However the one I want is on the left, commonly known as Hollyhock. It will grow six feet or taller. I currently have shades of maroon. I would appreciate other colors but I cannot seem to get them to grow.

The other plant is called creeping Charlie by some of my friends. I call it a major pest and will be ripping it out all summer long. It chokes my Obedience plants and pulls them down. It does the same to my Black-Eyed Susan plants as well. Another pest that does that is Morning Glories. They can be pretty but I work to contain them in one part of the garden or the blasted things take over.

Now lets talk about this next beauty that is resting at the bottom of the page. It looks like a clump of grass. Feels like grass until you pull it out and there are tiny white bulbs dangling from the roots. What do you do? Put it right back, of course and water it.  But how will you be reward?

In mid-June you will notice the grass die back a little and little white flowers, about 1 – 1 1/2 inches wide, bloom like crazy. You might notice little white bulbs in your garden as you put in bedding plants. Just stick them back in, water the ground after you are done putting in the bedding plants and next year you will be rewarded with more of these flowers.  It sounds crazy but this was one of the hidden delights in my garden.

Good luck with your garden this spring and by all means share a secret or two.

St. Mary's Grass

It is a clump of grass that has a white line on each blade. But is it a weed?