2/14: friend or foe?

This ground cover with purple flowers is pretty, but is it a plant or a weed?

purple groundcover purple groundcover (2) purple groundcover (3) purple groundcover (4)

I’ve asked at a nursery, where they suspected it may be a variety of salvia. I remember being given a bunch of salvia a couple of years ago, but I’m not sure they looked exactly like this. Can seeds from flowers revert to a different looking species? Coincidentally, I went to a community nursery where I spied the same plant growing in their grounds, but they were unable to identify it and suspected it was a weed.

Then I also recall my mother complaining about a purple weed in the garden. Was it this type? In any case, what is a weed? The Concise Macquarie dictionary defines it as:

1. a plant growing wild, esp. in cultivated ground to the exclusion of the desired crop.

2. any useless, troublesome, or noxious plant, esp. one that grows profusely.

I actually like this plant; it’s just where it has sprung up I don’t like, because it is in a slightly more formal, stylised area of the garden. In another area this plant could do very well.

Even plants that are sold as legitimate ones can be invasive. Just look at seaside daisies, Erigeron, which can become somewhat invasive, taking over entire areas.

I’ve decided that you just have to contain these plants. Ivy is known as a weed and yet it is pretty and can help suppress other worse weeds, so I have developed a system, keeping some of these plants, but limiting where they are allowed to grow. It’s fun pretending to have some control over nature.

Meanwhile, I think this purple groundcover may officially be a weed, but if I plant it in my cottage garden with the seaside daisies I think it will be rather attractive.

4 thoughts on “2/14: friend or foe?

  1. Yeah, plants that are officially classed as noxious weeds and doing damage to ecosystems, that’s one thing. And some of these have been nursery introductions (buckthorn!) and by extension, escapees from consumer gardens. So that kind of stuff is different. But for the most part, I take a pretty lackadaisical approach to weeds in my gardens over the years and am okay with taking a pretty restrained approach, since to the home gardener, a weed’s just a plant in a place you don’t want it. And that’s not the end of the world.

    That is a pretty little plant, though. I can see why you’d like it in the right setting. I couldn’t tell you if it was a salvia or not, but it’s definitely in the same family. Right kind of flower, got those opposite, minty-looking leaves.

  2. This is Self-Heal or. Prunella vulgaris. I leave it, but this is z4 in the US. I just pull it if it gets too involved with other plants. We need beauty around us wherever we can!

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