Sunday, June 12, 2011
I once volunteered to help weed an herb garden for a friend who sold herb plants. It was definitely a learning experience, not only did I learn about herbs I learned, that one man's weed is another man's flower. And I learned that what was once a weed can become a valuable plant, and the other way round.
So let us consider that insidious, invasive weed, a member of the mint family, one of the prettiest and best smelling ground covers I know of, Gill-over-the-ground. The Old farmer used to call it "chicken weed" because as he said it grew best around chicken coops. It grows best in disturbed soil, and very quickly also because each leaf lobe is capable of rooting. Will grow in sun or shade and is hardy in zones 3 thru 10.
Gill-over-the-ground, Ground ivy, Creeping Charlie is a member of the mint family, you can see it has a square stem, but it's tiny blue flowers look almost like and orchid. It is used as a salad green in some places and smelling the crushed leaves is said to benefit those with headaches or sinus problems. Gill-over-the-ground had it's origins in Europe and is not a native plant. In Europe it was used as a flavoring and preservative for beer, and it's name possibly comes from the mispronunciation of the French word, gillaue, "to ferment."
It's pretty little blooms are a welcome sight in late spring, and I have often crushed its leaves and enjoyed it refreshing fragrance while i sat on the edge of the asparagus bed, taking a break. To me it is a delight.