Splendor in the Grass…

Natalie Wood and Warren Beatty had a different concept of “Splendor in the Grass” than I do as my subject this morning are those somewhat small and usually ignored flowering lawn weeds of Spring and Summer not the lost love of which movies are made. When I virtually visited the next alphabetical state, New Jersey, I was somewhat disappointed. Not that the Purple Violet is less than alluring, its just that several other states also have chosen the violet and you and I both need to keep exploring new and challenging wildflowers. So, here I am, with another Purple Violet in our yard of wildflowers, but what are those white, blue, and yellow blooms we call weeds as they poke and sprawl their way from street to house?

First a token nod to New Jersey as we honor a Spring visitor to greening lawns and fields.

The Purple Violet is a favorite in New Jersey!

Our first view of blooming “weeds” is one we all know – the White Clover. Were you aware that there are a half dozen varieties of clover that will bloom in the front 40? White clover is easy but there is a red clover, a yellow hop clover, and even a crimson clover!

White Clover can literally take over your yard and be difficult to eradicate. In the past, I didn’t even try as the blooms were attractive and green is green.
Crimson Clover is an occasional visitor to your lawn but more prominent along Interstate Highway medians.
Oxalis, also known as Sorrel, is a common yard weed with its Shamrock leaves and yellow blooms. It will persist all summer if you let it.
Purslane is another ground-hugging lawn invader that will radiate in an ever increasing circle if you don’t tame it. I have heard it is a good food additive.
The Dead Nettle, or Creeping Charlie, can be a decent ground cover unless your lawn is a more prized possession.
Chickweed loves the cool, wet weather of late Winter and early Spring. It also loves your yard.
If you found a Veronica, or Speedwell, on a wildflower hike you would be elated – in your yard – not so much.
No lawn “weed” raises more ire than the dandelion!

There may be a hundred or so lawn weeds common in our area but aren’t they really wildflowers that happen to be growing in the wrong place? Consider the violet. There is not one person that doesn’t admire the purple, blue, yellow, or white Violet in a natural setting – be it woods or fields. When I do a wildflower survey in my neighborhood or in the deepest, darkest woods of Appalachia, an Oxalis, or Wood Sorrel, would be a great find. Even a Dandelion in the wild is counted as a wildflower. We like our solid green Bermuda, Bluegrass, or Fescue landscape but across the road, the clover and purslane bloom unrestricted and, in their own way, aren’t they just as attractive?

Consider the Violet – a beautiful wildflower – a persistent lawn weed.

New Mexico is our next alphabetical state and I bet you could easily become attached to their state flower.

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