Elegant Weeds

Weeds are just hardy plants struggling to survive….trying to overcome the obstacles of being ugly, annoying, unwanted, and unloveable for some human deemed reason or another.  Right?

what is this plant? a weed?

I can’t help but be a champion of the underdog, so I am coddling these two weedy babies.   Even though I have no idea what they are, I think they are kinda pretty, elegant in fact….so I have decided to adopt them and give them a place of permanence in my garden home.

what is this plant?  is it a weed?

(this one smells so nice ~ kind of clover-y)

I’m hoping this doesn’t turn into one of those adoption horror stories where eventually I will have to abandon them on a plane bound for Russia.

But in the mean time, can you help me name them?  I like traditional names….Latin is particularly nice.


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rochelle greayer

Hi, I'm Rochelle and for 18 years I have worked as a landscape designer, author/writer, and design teacher. I've designed residential and hospitality (for hotels, restaurants, and spas) gardens across the USA and in the UK, Europe and the Middle East. After many years of teaching garden design topics in person, I launched the PITH + VIGOR Boot Camp series in early 2018. Through my blog, social media, and online courses (Garden Design Bootcamp and Planting Design Boot Camp) I aim to help homeowners learn how to confidently design and create home gardens that reflect their own personal and unique style.
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  1. Brianna @ RMV on May 9, 2012 at 9:43 am

    I think the first one is narrow leaf plantain. If not someone let me know. It grows around here and I have often thought it was pretty,

    No idea on the second.

  2. Heather on May 9, 2012 at 10:22 am

    The top one is definitely a plantain, looks like English Plantain (Plantago lanceolata). The second one I am not so sure about…looks a little like nettles but those flowers aren’t familiar to me. I’ll be peeking in to see if someone else knows!

  3. Kim on May 9, 2012 at 11:38 am

    The second one is garlic mustard. It’s very invasive. It is spreading throughout the woods behind my house. The only things left once it’s there are bittersweet and poison ivy. It’s terrible. Pull it now before it seeds and DO NOT compost it.


  4. Amanda on May 9, 2012 at 4:11 pm

    Yes, the second one is definitely garlic mustard. I just spent hours pulling it out of my garden, you have to get rid of it soon or it will take over. One plant will produce a hundred seeds and soon that is all you will have! It pulls out pretty easily, root and all, after a few rainy days. Good luck!

  5. Matt on May 9, 2012 at 5:40 pm

    The only good thing about garlic mustard is that you can eat it to destroy it. But yes, YOU MUST DESTROY IT! It tastes good with olive oil and lemon.

  6. Garlic mustard is an invasive biennial that release toxins from its roots that destroys are native flora. Grows in shade or sun. One benefit is that it is edible.

  7. rochelle on May 9, 2012 at 8:15 pm

    ok — garlic mustard gone….uneaten, but if I see more I will definitely try it out for dinner! So the plantain is ok? It’s not going to try and take over? I really like it so I hope it isn’t secretly evil.
    Thanks guys for the help!

  8. Christine Colley on May 9, 2012 at 9:05 pm

    Allaria petiolaris – Garlic Mustard. Very invasive, much hated, frequently pulled (Minnesota Invasive Species Network measures how much they pull in the tens of thousands of pounds).

  9. erin on May 9, 2012 at 10:20 pm

    Just pulled lots of garlic mustard this morning…I didn’t have a problem last year! I was so happy it was easy to pull out!

  10. Louise on May 9, 2012 at 10:39 pm

    Even with pulling the garlic mustard will continue to set seed so its impt to bag it and let it completely expire,before disposing. Invasive because it out competes everything else and ridiculously vigorous. I let all kinds of grasses and goldenrod, aster and blackeyed susans seed around every year. Its interesting to watch the polite weeds travel around the yard, just make sure you can get rid of them when you want to.

  11. Jessica on May 12, 2012 at 1:19 pm

    I second Heather, the first one looks like Plantago lanceolata or possibly Plantago major. Definitely a Eurasian weed, but a pretty one.

  12. Randi on May 12, 2012 at 1:44 pm

    Plantago lanceolata is my guess, too. The plantagos are non-natives, but they’ve been around for a long time, and they don’t seem to be too aggressive. If you ever cut yourself on a hiking trip, the leaves are supposedly good for wounds and bug bites.

  13. Brianna @ RMV on May 15, 2012 at 5:31 pm

    The plantain has pretty much already invaded. It came over with European settlers ages ago. It isn’t going to take over like they described with the garlic mustard, but it pretty much grows everywhere. Well at least in Western North Carolina. It especially seems to love gravel driveways; both the pointed and round leaf.

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