I was quite young when my parents identified Queen Anne’s lace for me. Egocentric child that I was, I took pride in the bountiful display of this beautiful bloom that was connected to my name.. It never occurred to me that a flower in every ditch was not likely to be precious.
Fast forward 65 years. If anyone asked me to identify Queen Anne’s lace from the window of a moving car, I could have done it in an instant. You are welcome to laugh when I tell you I did not recognize it in our own garden. A plant that voluntarily came up two years in a row was accepted for what it was – something with wispy green foliage, spindly stems, and bedraggled white blooms hardly worth looking at. Neighbor Amy, in response to my openness to hear her garden secrets, identified it about a year ago. She gently let me know most folks would consider it a weed.
I thought my opinion of the weed would remain low. It did until a gifted naturalist wrote about it in the Asheville newspaper at the end of the growing season. I looked for the article from last year but couldn’t find it. Daughter Lise found it, though, and she lives in Denmark. Maybe I was too close. The man included a folk tale of how it got its name, explained it was part of the carrot family, and published a painting of it done by his wife. He noted that many mature blooms have a dark spot in the middle which may attract insects. I looked at every bloom, trying to see that black spot and was unsuccessful. Click here to read the article.
This year I again looked for a tiny black area in the blooms we passed on our morning walk. Eureka! Many of the plants had them! I have no clue why I couldn’t see a single one last year. The tiny black area was usually raised above the white, which was quite distinctive close up. When we drive in and out of our area, I wear a smug smile. I know a secret now that was hidden from me for most of a generous lifetime.