By Jill Brooke
Looks like London’s Chelsea Flower Show 2023 agrees with what I have always felt. Labels are often unfair and many weeds can and should be looked at as beautiful flowers.
Four of the twelve show gardens will feature “weeds” as horticulturalists move to rebrand them as “resilient plants” and garden heroes. Because the Chelsea Flower Show is the most prestigious flower show in the world, this is not only big news but validation.
As Tom Massey at the Royal Entomological Society told the Guardian’s @JamieGrierson “People often get really stressed out about dandelions on the lawn but they are a good source of nectar [for bees] because they flower early in the year and they’re really nice to look at. Even foxgloves and knapweed are welcome. There’s a lot of stigma around the word ‘weed’.” Massey is also creating one of the weed gardens.
Sheila Das, a garden manager at Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Wisley in Surrey, told Grierson that gardeners should also stop using the term “weeds” in a derogatory way and instead refer to “weed heroes” or “superweeds.”
Now clearly some weeds are invasive. But many are not -so learning about the difference matters. Dandelions are one of many that are worthy of the term flower. Or as garden expert Cathy Ludden says, “A weed is just a plant in the wrong place. An invasive plant is a weed in the wrong continent.”
Dandelions are clearly worthy. Furthermore, every part of the dandelion is edible except for the seed head that we blow to make a wish. Plus since dandelions contain many vitamins and minerals including calcium and potassium, many believe they are helpful to reduce cholesterol and promote cell health. And yes, they are pretty too.
I just love this idea that the influential Chelsea Flower Show – which runs the week of May 20th – will rebrand weeds as hero plants.
So true right? Well, we are helping spread the word because as A.A. Milne said, “Weeds are flowers too once you get to know them.”
Jill Brooke is a former CNN correspondent, Post columnist and editor-in-chief of Avenue and Travel Savvy magazine. She is an author and the editorial director of FPD and a contributor to Florists Review magazine.