The Secret to a Low-Maintenance Flower Garden?

By | Last Updated On: July 18, 2021 @ 2:38 am

Kathryn O’Shea-Evans from wsj said that GARDEN DESIGNER Butter Wakefield’s London backyard, above, has nary a blade of grass out of place. Except, that is, for an untamed patch that contains what many people might deem weedy eyesores: tufted vetch, ragged robin and knapweed. Bracketed by a close-cropped carpet of grass and conically manicured yews in her tidy back garden, the wildflower strip gives the space an unexpected “wow factor,” Ms. Wakefield said.

Landscape designers and home gardeners are beginning to embrace the feral beauty of what might be called “welcome weeds”: pop-up native plants whose reputations are being elevated from squatting carbuncles to prized members of the flora-scape. Prairie Nursery, in Westfield, Wis., ships to the Lower 48 states. It reports a 150% increase over the past three years in spring sales of plants with “weed” in the name. These include joe pye weed, a tall leafy plant topped with mounds of pale purple flowers; and common milkweed, which boasts ballet-slipper-pink globes of florets. Both feature on the Weed Science Society of America’s lengthy list of flora-non-grata. The nonprofit’s definition of a weed includes plants that can cause economic loss (by self-seeding so vigorously they force pricey groundskeepers to spend hours pulling them up, for example), or those that pose health issues to humans or animals, such as white, bell-shaped Lily of the Valley—dainty as a dewdrop, but highly toxic.

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