This is the view out my back door, between the house and the garage.  Carefully arranged, except for one thing–the tall, graceful, flufffy-headed Horseweed (Erigeron canadensis) that decided on its own to seed itself within the bricks of the walk.  It’s the perfect accent to the composition–a feather-duster plume at the top of a tall unbranched stem.


There were several smaller plants that appeared in the brick walk, as well, but most were trampled down from the comings and goings on the walk.

Many years ago, when I first started gardening with native plants a whole row of Horseweed popped up.  Never having seen them before I watched them grow and bloom.  I was not impressed and pulled them out, never to be seen again until this year.

Everything I read about it on the web was negative–worse weed ever.  But Dick Young, in his book, Kane County Wild Plants & Natural Areas, had a completely different take on it:

Erigeron canadensis-common- on roadsides, fields, and waste areas.  It is an open, graceful, native annual to 3’ tall with a stem covered with thin, light green linear leaves and topped with tiny, long-stalked blossoms from mid-July to mid-Nov.  It emerges from the cracks in paved medium strips, it covers broken asphalt, concrete heaps, bare gravel and debris in waste areas and though unintended, it probably does more to mask trash than any other urban weed.

It’s all in how one looks at the world, isn’t it?

We miss you, Dick Young.

Reminder:  Annual Historic House Tour in Elgin this Saturday, Sept 8, 2012, 9-5.


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