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Friday, 28 July 2006

Just Once Before She Dies

category_bug_journal2.gif It is high season for Queen Anne’s Lace, the most profuse of the wild flowers I see on my morning walks along Casco Bay.

There was just as much Queen Anne’s Lace where I grew up on the other side of the United States in Portland, Oregon. Back then, I never understood why everyone considered it a weed, and I still don’t. Its astounding beauty lies in its intricacy and in the charming surprise in the center of every bloom.

Queen Anne's Lace Close Up Tiny, white flowers grow into lacy, flat-topped clusters as delicate as a butterfly’s wing. In the middle of each cluster is one – and only one - Lilliputian flower of a red so deep and dark in color it could be a drop of blood. In fact, legend has it that the center red flower represents a blood drop from the finger of expert lace maker, Queen Anne of Denmark, when she pricked her finger with a needle.

All my life, I’ve been drawn to Queen Anne’s Lace along the sides of roads and paths, at the edges of meadows and where it irritates suburban gardeners when it sneaks into the outer reaches of neatly trimmed lawns.

And so it came to pass of a recent morning’s walk that an irresistible urge overtook respect for the law and - I confess it here to the world - I picked some Queen Anne’s Lace for a floral arrangement at home. And I didn’t stop there. I also cut two branches of those red berries I showed you the other day because they would help spotlight that single tiny red flower in the middle of each Queen Anne’s bloom.

It was a good idea. Look at how beautiful my first-ever Queen Anne’s Lace bouquet turned out.

Queen Anne's Lace Bouquet

In reality, I don’t know if there is a law against picking flowers in the park in Portland, Maine, but most cities have such prohibitions for good reasons and I support them. Even so, once in awhile an old lady’s gotta do what an old lady’s gotta do – just once before she dies.


Posted by Ronni Bennett at 02:41 AM | Permalink | Email this post

Comments

Beautiful! Though the flower is bad news for those with hayfever. You may have missed the fields of lupine up your way; I've forgotten when they bloom. It's a perennial that I've tried forever to grow here in Connecticut without much luck, and when I saw the fields of it in every color growing wild, it was a joy to behold.

Oh - most beautiful dear Ronni - enjoy while it lasts!

I love Queen Anne's Lace too and it made a beautiful arrangement with the red berries.

Your arrangement is beautiful. Queen Anne's Lace (or wild carrot) is profuse here in Michigan also. I enjoy it everyday. Haven't got the nerve to take any tho.

And here in Georgia Queen Anne's Lace is plentiful especially along the country byways. I too have always loved this flower.
-------------------------------
Here's a poem. By Mary Leslie 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!

You know, I grew up around Queen Anne's lace, and I did not know about the teeny red flower. I wasn't very attentive as a child, I guess. I think it's very pretty, and yes, every now and then, one must pick a flower or two. The arrangement is beautiful. My only wish is that I could see a much larger version to enjoy the details. :)

You did a great job on the arrangement, Ronni. Down here when you pick it, you have to shake it hard to get the bugs and chiggers out before you take it home.

What a stunning arrangement. Really looks beautiful and I can see why you enjoy it.
Now Kenju knows where to look if she needs an assistant.

Queen Anne's Lace is invasive in some areas and can crowd out native plants, that's why it's considered a weed. It also looks a lot like some types of hemlock, which is why you might not want to eat it unless you know what you're doing. ;^)

Ronni -- love your arrangement and Chancy's poem above is just lovely and a nice accompaniment to your post.

Weed? Dandelions were considered vegetables by the French who brought them here. They are very healthful.(the dandelions.)

Cheers.

I love your choice of container, and the balance of the arrangement. I think Queen Anne's Lace is only a weed when IT chooses where it wants to grow. In my gardens it's welcome.

Ronni, thanks for sharing. I took some pictures in Chicago last weekend one or more of which included Queen Anne's Lace. I must admit I did not know the name of it before. While I know a bunch of technology stuff, I wish I new more names of natural things.

That is beautiful. My Mom, when we lived in Oregon in the 40s, knew I would bring her Queen Annes Lace flowers everytime I came home from school. I don't know that she or I ever considered it a weed. I wish I could arrange flowers as well.

Absolutely stunning! What a beautiful arrangement. I'm going to "save picture as" on computer and add it too my collection of other beautiful photos of flowers, may I? I'm not familiar with Queen Anne's Lace but they sure are georgeous. Even if it maybe wasn't totally legal to pick them, isn't it nice Ronni to create your own bouquet from flowers you picked yourself, instead of buying them at the local florist down the street in the Village? Lovely and so pretty.

Love Queen Anne's Lace. Always have. Never considered it a weed, either. Heck... it's delicate, it's pretty. As a kid I used to pluck it from abandoned fields and stick it in an old mayonnaise jar, cleaned up and filled with pristine tap water. Your arrangement is a great improvement!

Absolutely magnificent, Ronni! Like you, I have always loved Queen Anne's Lace which abounds in the woods, fields, roadsides & vacant lots of Ohio & remember taking bouquets of it to my mother as a little girl. Thanks for reminding us of the little things we don't always pay attention to as we hurry through life!!!!

I love your "weed" arrangement! I think you have missed your calling, it is gorgeous!
No law in Maine or Portland that I am aware of. Just be careful when you are venturing off the beaten path that you aren't walking into some poison ivy...it thrives along with all our wonderful wildflowers...it's funny, I was picking some Queen Anne's lace for a bouquet for my daughter and kept trying to brush the "bug" off the middle, probably would help to have my glasses on, thank you for explaining what it actually is! I so enjoy your musings about your new digs and can't wait for the next one to come.

just heard from a friend who was reminded that she'd just come upon a forgotten bottle of "subtle-tasting jelly" from this flower. the woman who made it had given her the recipe which i'd like to pass along when i get a copy. she too was charmed with your photo and how it came about. have to get that recipe.

Here in England it is also called, less romantically, Cow Parsley, and in Yorkshire, where I grew up, even less romantically, KECK.
It grows in drifts ten foot wide all round my Gloucestershire farmhouse and lots of local brides have it to decorate the church at their weddings in May.

I seem to have been truncated then ! anyway, it Yorkshire, even less romantically, it is called KECK. It grows in drifts twenty feet wide all round my Gloucestershire farmhouse in May.. local brides often have it to decorate the church for their weddings then too.

In my early years, either Kindergarten or maybe vacation bible school, our very smart teacher taught us a lesson about flowers "drinking in water" by having us mix vegetable dyes (whatever color we liked) in a glass of water and putting in Queen Ann's Lace. In a not-very-long time, as children understand time, the flowers would change color. I still pass along this "lesson".

As for lupine, my Welsh relatives all had it in their beautiful small cottage gardens, but I have never had any luck with it in the US mid-Atlantic reagion.

How odd to read this blog after I posted something on the same subject on my gardening blog today.

Beautiful bouquet. Queen Anne's Lace is abundant in my wildflower meadow and I have to remind myself of its beauty unlike the other flowers. I note that no one responded to your query about the berries. While difficult to identify from a picture, I think they are honeysuckle, probably the genus Lonicera. Most of the species are invasive. Check with your local cooperative extension agency, an excellent resource.

I live on an island in Washington and saw it all over the roadside yesterday.
I love your arrangement.

I wonder if the picked plant can also be dried?

Ronni there is something wonderful about flowers. :)

I think it's called "Bishop's Weed" here in Utah (as it was in Ohio as I recall), and it can get scraggley looking, but it's still beautiful. The arrangement was stunning!

Well, here it is 2010!! And I have a question about Queen Anne's Lace, which I also like a lot. I always had trouble keeping it perky in water, is there a trick? And I used to press them to dry them and then used them in collages. Very effective.
Thank you!

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