Tuesday, August 01, 2006
The Wild Queen
Chancy suggested I plant a wildflower in my new yard landscape, Queen Anne's Lace. The Queen Anne referred to is Queen Anne of Denmark (1574-1619). This plant which came from Europe grows throughout the United States and I have partiality to this plant because of memories of picking it when I was a little girl and bringing bouquets home to my mother. This plant is actually the original plant from which we derive the garden carrot. If you break the stem or leaf it has a smell similar to parsley to which it is also related and the root looks a little like a tiny carrot root but it is tough and woody.
While it can be somewhat invasive and some refer to it as a weed, I have never had a problem keeping it under control. I think it tends to be less invasive in our wetter East Coast climate than it seems to be in a dry prairie field. I can remember early fall hikes in Colorado where I came upon plants that were three feet high with the primary blossom being fives inches wide. The leaves are also delicate and compliment the lace of the blossoms.
I like it because it is a wonderful addition to any bouquet in the house when the fall is beginning, although there are blossoms to pick in the later summer as well. It is one of the last plants to give up when the cold nights start. I remember a quote from the TV series Anne of Green Gables where Anne Shirley writes about the last few blossoms of the Queen Anne's Lace on P.E.I. before the winter sets in and that image has stayed with me all these years.
When the blossom fades it folds into itself and has the shape of a small birds nest which is another name it sometimes is given. I have read that the root is a diuretic and can be eaten, but never needed that aspect of the plant. I also read that it can be used as a morning after pill---but I don't need that anymore.
Therefore, I will get a packet of seeds next spring and scattered them along the woods edge at the front of the house where they can get plenty of daytime sun. Then I will try to remember to take a photo of the first bouquet from these.