However one refers to this flower, it’s certainly a lovely feature of fence rows, fallow fields, vacant city lots. I’ve seen it in different sizes, apparently varied varieties, from tiny and bluish to large and shaded or lined with pinkish hues.
I encountered this one on a late summer walk. Had to share this simple and casual, yet beautiful and inspiring, blossom. Hedge bindweed as a title doesn’t really do this one justice. It seems quite glorious. Since I’m not a professional botanist, I suppose I may call it what seems appropriate.
O’Brignal banks are wild and fair,
And Greta woods are green,
And you may gather garlands there
Would grace a summer queen.
-Rokeby, Sir Walter Scott, 1771-1822
Ah, for the days when poets composed sonnets to weeds.
I’ve always loved Queen Anne’s Lace, though in America farmers and gardeners seem to discount its beauty and consider it a pest.
But it’s much less invasive and dangerous than some later arrivals, like knotweed, poison hemlock (and garlic mustard, though I must profess my love for it too, in spite of the fact that it may be taking over forest borders from more demure wildflowers like trillium, spring beauty, bloodroot).
My mother told me the name of Queen Anne’s Lace way back when I was a child. She said it was a weed, but I sensed a part of her appreciated it like I did. I still imagine bridal bouquets whenever I see fields sprinkled or frosted with clusters of the frilly blossoms.
The Complete Language of Flowers by Sheila Pickles tells us that the name references Queen Anne’s love of lacy head-dresses. The tiny purple floret at the center of each bloom is said to represent blood from Queen Anne’s finger when she pricked it while making lace.