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GARDEN CLUB NEWS: Weeds are plants, too

August 3, 2018
By JINI HOOD , Lake Placid News

The early summer heat and late July rains brought speedy growth of all plants, both flowers and weeds. According to the dictionary a "weed" is a plant that is not valued where it is growing. It tends to overgrow and choke out more desirable plants. Wikipedia notes that a plant may be a weed in one context and not a weed in a situation where it is wanted.

Wildflower fans might consider dandelions interesting flowers with their bright yellow color attracting the eye and the fluffy seed heads which are fun to blow around. Many people like the spring leaves for salads. Those who work hard to keep a perfect lawn look at dandelions as weeds and rush to dig them out.

Milkweed spreads rapidly in dry fields and roadsides and may take over the garden. The long silky hairs of the seed pods were used to stuff pillows and mattresses, and during World War I was used to stuff life preservers. Now the plant attracts butterflies and monarchs feed on the leaves.

Joe-Pye weed, named for an Indian herb doctor, was said to be used to stop a typhus epidemic and to treat gout and kidney stones.

It seems that the difference between weeds and desirable plants is a matter of opinion. The Lake Placid Public Library has many books on gardening. Weeds are discussed in "10,000 Garden Questions, Vol. I."

Tip 1: If you are a hands and knees gardener, knee pads will make your work much more comfortable. Sporting goods and hardware stores will have what you need.

Tip 2: Weeding is easier when the ground is moist so pull the weeds after watering or after rain.

The Garden Club of Lake Placid had a Secret Gardens tour at the end of July. Nine gardens were on the list, and each was very different.

There was a rooftop garden with vegetables and flowers growing in containers. Another interesting place was a rock garden turned into a magic place an entrance for tiny elves or fairies and tiny elf doors on the trees.

Another garden started within the foundation of a long-ago church and is now a relaxing place to sit on a bench and enjoy the "grow where you want to" plants. Still another house had a display of milkweed leaves with caterpillars munching on them, and a group of chrysalis waiting to produce the next butterflies.

The next Garden Club event will be on Sunday, Aug. 26, at Heaven Hill Farm on Bear Cub Road. It is the annual celebration party called "A Salute and Toast to the Garden Club of Lake Placid." Heidi Roland, event director at Heaven Hill, will conduct a tour of the gardens with a historical and current perspective. Reservations are requested by Aug. 20.

They should be made with Mary Merrill at 518-523-2933 or by email at

For other information about the event contact Carol Fox at



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