Black-eyed Susans are one of my favorite flowers. To me, they look like
bright, happy faces. Seeing them never fails to lift my spirits.
I also love them because, technically speaking, they are weeds, albeit
weeds that have found favor with dedicated gardeners. You see them
growing with wild abandon in late-summer fields. And you see them planted in
the finest gardens, too. My heart fills with a mischievous glee,
knowing a common "weed" has shed the bonds of that derogatory title. A
Cinderella of the plant kingdom, I suppose.
So, last year when we were choosing plants for our new garden,
naturally black-eyed Susans were at the top of the list. I loved
watching them gain altitude and strength and then set out buds. When
they blossomed my heart soared.
Except something was missing. Queen Anne's lace.
When you see black-eyed Susans growing wild in the fields, they are
always dancing with Queen Anne's lace. They look beautiful together. In contrast, the black-eyed Susans in my garden did not look quite right without their native friends. I would venture to say they even seemed a bit forlorn.
Setting about to rectify the problem, I studied some gardening
catalogs. Sure enough, seeds are to be had at a modest price. Some
catalogs even boast seeds that -- horrors! -- have been treated so that
they will not spread like common weeds. Why, I wonder, wouldn't you
want flowers you love to spread?
Then my spouse suggested we harvest some wild seeds on one of our
walks. I stored the seeds all winter long, waiting for springtime
planting. Spring finally came, along with discouraging and unrelenting
rain. By the time I planted my seeds, the time was really past.
Meanwhile, a mysterious new plant emerged from the soil. Noting its
soft, feathery, intriguing leaves, I decided to let it stay when I was
pulling weeds. Imagine my surprise when it bloomed -- a beautiful,
healthy Queen Anne's lace! And right beside the black-eyed Susans, too.
How it knew to take up residence in that precise spot, I will never
know. But I am grateful and, yes, I am enjoying a certain mischievous