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In the garden: Is this a weed?

This purple flower is pollinator magnet. But what is it?

Normally bees buzz, a low-pitched drone from their wings, but they make the oddest noise after entering these blossoms for nectar: A higher-pitched, brief whir, rather like sandpaper coming loose from a sander while sanding.

I am coming to the conclusion that I like the garden not for the outcome, the vegetables (and fruits (and one day, nuts)), or even the sharing of them, but because I like being in the middle of a great number of complicated organic systems. I suppose another word for that is being alive, but you know what I mean.

UPDATE Adding, I just got hit with what looked like a burst of dandelion fluff, and then a baby-blue damselfly landed on my desk. So what I said about being alive.

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quixote's picture
Submitted by quixote on

A Campanula of some species or other would be my guess. Some bluebells can apparently be a tad invasive, but, hell, with flowers like that, I'd tell the plant to go for it. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Submitted by Dromaius on

I don't know. Do you like it? If you like it, it's not a weed. I love large fields of dandelions. They are not weeds for me in that context.

Yep, as quixote said, this is likely a wild bluebell of some kind.

I have found that with semi-invasive pretty things, that they are controllable by yanking them out where you don't want them...you know, sort of shape where you want them to grow. They still happily remain, just not in the wrong places.

Submitted by lambert on

... but on the other hand cultivated plants seem to have a different relation to the soul; yanking them out seems easier, somehow.

All non-weeds are not cultivated plants, however, I agree!

nippersdad's picture
Submitted by nippersdad on

I concur, some type of companula. O/T, the white stuff in one of your earlier posts looks to me like Gooseneck Loosestrife. Also semi invasive, but the bees love it so why not?

Submitted by lambert on

... or, as we like to call it, Lysimachia clethroides:

Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Prefers moist, rich, humusy locations in full sun, but spreads by rhizomes and can be very aggressive in these ideal growing conditions. Tends to be somewhat less aggressive if grown in drier soils with light shade.

Which is where mine is growing! Here's a close-up pic of the blossoms?

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nippersdad's picture
Submitted by nippersdad on

I put out some mountain mint a few years ago and it has gone crazy; the stuff is invasive as hell, but I have never seen so many different pollinators attracted to any other single plant. We have got a colony of ground bees (tiny native wasps) underneath the patch and one seldom sees them until they flower. One doesn't want to lose the colony by pulling up too much of the stuff, but then one does need paths through it.

Another invasive that I just love is golden rod. I have the stuff everywhere, and a beekeeper friend of mine is going to bring a hive over when it blooms. He says that the honey smells awful, initially, but after processing it then loses the smell and tastes like butterscotch!

There are invasives, and then there are invasives. If you like what it does and it affects no one else then there is no good reason not to keep it. A weed is just a plant where it is not wanted.

Submitted by lambert on

I highly recommend it. We had a beekeeper in the family, and there was a field of goldenrod on the other side of the road from the house, so in August you would see bees whizzing high over the road.....

Fuck clover, seriously. This is the good stuff.

nippersdad's picture
Submitted by nippersdad on

Ah! A honey connoisseur (sp?). Richard just brought us a jar of the new crop yesterday (I believe that this is what he is going to enter into the beekeeper competition) and we are still working on a jar he gave us in the Spring of last year.

Would you care for some?

nippersdad's picture
Submitted by nippersdad on

I can't imagine why not, you can order it online. I've mailed jelly and preserves in the past with no problem....you just have to pad the jar real well and double box.....

Submitted by lambert on

I'll send you my address via Corrente Mail (look for an alert at the top of the screen). Thanks!