Red clover, Goldenrod, Queen Anns Lace, Milkweed are just a few of many weeds which grow easily in majority of gardens, allotments and farms.
Red clover has been popular for its medicinal properties for hundreds of years. High in phytoestrogens, a tea of the plant’s leaves and flowers is used to control hot flashes, breast tenderness, and other symptoms of menopause. Red clover isn’t just good for the body though – it’s good for the garden, too. An excellent source of nectar, clover is a favorite of honey bees. What’s more, all species of clover belong to the legume family and fix life-sustaining nitrogen in the soil.
The goldenrod genus Solidago occurs across Europe and North America in a variety of different habitats. More often than not, it pops up in garden beds and the fringes of the backyard, too. Goldenrods are one of the most important sources of food for migrating butterflies and other pollinators active in early to late fall. Be pollinator-friendly and let it thrive.
Queen Anne’s lace is common in North America. This wild relative of the carrot isn’t native, however. It actually comes from Europe. Luckily that doesn’t seem to bother the beautiful anise swallowtail, which uses the plant as its larval host (and lots of other plants in the carrot family). Moreover, it’s a great nectar source for pollinators of every stripe.
If you haven’t already heard, monarch butterflies are experiencing a population crash of epic proportions. The government is even considering putting them on the endangered species list because their numbers have plummeted so low. Monarchs rely on one group of plants on which to lay their eggs: the milkweeds. Unfortunately their migration route over the breadbasket of the midwest takes them through acres and acres of milkweed-free agricultural fields (farmers view the plant as a nuisance). If you have any of the milkweed species growing in the garden, do your part for conservation and leave them up for monarchs to chew on. Another little known secret: the flowers of common milkweed are incredibly aromatic.
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