Posted by: mdmusingsie | July 8, 2014

A Flower by Any Other Name is….a Weed?

As many writers will tell you, a story may start one way and as it’s being written, suddenly change direction. So, too, went this blog post.

With nothing very interesting going on of late, I was just going to write about the beautiful Clematis blooming in my garden. I previously posted a picture of the one on the south wall of the garden. That one bloomed in May. This one lives on the East wall and just bloomed in the last few weeks.




Not everything is growing with such vigor. My poor little strawberry plant has only produced two fairy-sized berries. I hope the wee folk will enjoy them. Since this plant was only rescued in July last year, there’s still a chance I’ll get a berry or two out of it.

Fairy Strawberries

Fairy Strawberries

I’m fortunate to have several lovely assortments of fauna on my path to and from work, so I was thinking about flowers in general when I happened by one that I particularly enjoy, despite being told it was a noxious weed.

Flower who's name I don't know

Flower who’s name I don’t know

Weed whose name I don't remember

Weed whose name I don’t remember

Of course that made me consider what makes one blossom a beautiful, harmless flower, and another a weed? What I’ve decided is that it’s a good part merely perception.

St. John's Wort

St. John’s Wort

Rhododendrons are considered and invasive species in Ireland as they can crowd out the native plants and grow so dense that a couple out hiking in mountains on the Tipperary-Waterford border recently got stuck in the thicket and had to be rescued. The purple flower I like is a noxious weed (whose name I can’t remember, so it’s not just people’s names I have trouble retaining). St. John’s Wort with its plethora of yellow flowers, is available only by prescription, yet grows in abundance around the country. Bindweed has cute purple flowers similar to morning glory, but by its nature strangles other plants. Creeping buttercup, bluebells, fleabane, there’s many of them out there that people claim to be weeds. Some might even consider thistle a weed (apologies if I’ve inadvertently offended any Scottish – I actually enjoy the thistle – it’s purple, after all). Even the much maligned dandelion can make a lovely wine, from what I hear, is full of vitamins, and has many healing properties.

So it appears that what distinguishes a weed from a flower is at least in large part, personal preference. They are just like people. As I wrote a few years back, ní mainicín mé, which in some people’s eyes makes me a weed, but beauty is only skin deep (and a thousand other clichés), and some of us just flower in different ways. Embrace your inner and outer flower, whatever form they take. And if a dreaded flower pops up in your manicured lawn, consider admiring its beauty instead of rushing to eradicate it.

Postscript – every rose has its thorn, even weeds provide some greenery, and rain clouds are required for rainbows

Dublin Rainbow

Dublin Rainbow


  1. I like “pretty” weeds, Dawn!

    • Thanks, Marie, I do as well!

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