Gardening Magazine

In A Vase On Monday – Queen Anne’s Lace

By Julie King

Welcome to ‘In A Vase On Monday’ when I am linking up with Cathy at Rambling In The Garden to join her challenge to fill a vase for the house from the garden every week.

This week my thoughts are with the weeds – they are rampaging through my borders after this warm spring weather we have had. I am very through with weeding certain areas of my garden, particularly beds close to the house. As I move away from the house, however, I quite like a few weeds . Particularly at this early point in the year their freshness and lush growth lend a carefree abundant beauty to the wilder areas of the garden.

Weed Labels

My particular favorite is Queen Annes Lace (also know as cow parsley) and as I have so much of it flowering this week I decided to make a vase of it!

Vase of Cow Parsley

Whilst researching this ‘weed’ I found this lovely short children’s poem by Mary Lesley Newton:

Queen Anne, Queen Anne, has washed her lace
(She chose a summer’s day)
And hung it in a grassy place
To whiten, if it may.

Queen Anne, Queen Anne, has left it there,
And slept the dewy night;
Then waked, to find the sunshine fair,
And all the meadows white.

Queen Anne, Queen Anne, is dead and gone
(She died a summer’s day),
But left her lace to whiten in
Each weed-entangled way!

I also found a far more grown up poem by William Carlos Williams called Queen Anne’s Lace, but I will leave you to read that one yourself.

Cow Parsley

The largest patch of Queen Anne’s Lace in my garden grows persistently under a very old apple tree at the end of the Woodland Walk. This tree grows almost entirely in shade and only has leaf cover at its highest point. Despite its position it produces a lovely crop of miniature sweet apples every year, although they are so high we can only use them as windfalls. I am considering adding a clematis or rambling rose to scramble up its old trunk – I would not want to put the old tree under any strain though.

Apple Tree & Cow Parsley

I have found a legend that says that Queen Anne, wife of King James I, was challenged by her friends to create lace as beautiful as a flower. Whilst making this lace she pricked her finger and the story goes that the tiny purple red flower in each floret represents the drop of her blood that fell onto the lace. I had never noticed this blood red flower, but if you look very closely it is there. I am sorry that it is hard to see in these photos – I was not aware of it when I was taking them yesterday and so did not focus on it. It was also quite a windy day, so the flowers are slightly blurred.

Cow Parsley

In the language of flowers Queen Anne’s Lace represents protection and sanctuary.

Cow Parsley

I hope you have enjoyed this weeks look at Queen Anne’s Lace. My vase of weeds has now replaced my Easter tree on the hall table and is providing a frothy romantic feel to the room.

I hope you will pop over to Cathy’s blog and have a look at what she and the increasing number of bloggers joining in with her meme have made this week.


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