Something Fishy

Something Fishy
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Monday, April 28, 2014

So when is a weed a wildflower and a wildflower a weed? It's your choice....

Whether or not a plant is a weed or a wildflower depends on one's perspective.

So when is a weed a wild flower, and when is a wild flower a flower, and when is a flower a weed? And does it make any difference, if it is beautiful?
On a trip into the field to check wildlife plantings a years ago, I began taking photographs of butterflies on butterfly bush (flowers or weeds). Anyway, their blooms were a beautiful orange, and there wasn’t much question why they are called a butterfly bush. On one bush I counted eight magnificent butterflies.
My friend Doyle Coultas commented he thought he would dig up a couple plants, and transplant them to his flower garden.
So what did Doyle plan to transplant? Was it a weed, or was it a flower
A short time later,  I took the opportunity to ask Tammy Ford, who raises flowers commercially to sell as cut flowers in Louisville, “When does a weed become a flower and vice versa?”
She didn’t hesitate, but with a big grin explained, “Anything you don’t want in your flower garden is a weed.”
My wife, Phyllis, who has gained great expertise in growing weeds, agrees and says they are weeds only if you don’t want them.
The Garden Web on the internet defines a wild flower as a flowering plant growing and usually propagating itself outside of cultivation.
There are flowers that were weeds. That become flowers, and then revert back to weeds. One time, I paid $3.50 a plant for purslane only to find out it is a weed, and often considered a pesky weed at that. However, whatever it is, it has pretty blooms that close up at night and reopen each morning.
Wildflowers (or flowering weeds) are some of nature’s most beautiful work. After our long hard winter, this year, hopefully, the wild flowers will once again be especially spectacular.
For help in identifying wildflowers, I use the National Audubon Society Field Guide to Wildflowers (Eastern Region). It can be purchased at most books stores and at state park gift shops.
Early spring is a great time to enjoy flowers in the woods, followed by colorful blooms in fields, country roadways, and meadows which become alive with many different colors. So, whether they are wildflowers, weeds or flowers, now is a good time to take a walk and enjoy them.

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