Even though I know it’s a non-native weed (and a noxious one, to some), I’ve always loved Daucus carota, aka Queen Anne’s Lace. There’s something about its finely-textured foliage and delicate umbrel flowers that says “summer!” to me. Add a few sprays to a casual bouquet and you conjure up the sensation of taking a leisurely stroll down a hidden country path on a brilliantly sunny day.
So it was with considerable pleasure that I recently discovered a single specimen of Queen Anne’s Lace cozying up to a small shrub of Gro-Low Fragrant Sumac (Rhus aromatica ‘Gro-Low’) that I planted last year to help stabilize a bank. (“Cozying up” is actually an understatement — the Queen Anne’s Lace is essentially sitting in the sumac’s lap.)
Although Gro-Low Sumac is one tough, easy-to-grow plant, this particular shrub hasn’t had it easy. It started off root-bound in its pot (I know, I know, you shouldn’t buy root-bound plants. But sometimes you Just. Have. To. Have. It.) Then, despite being on a slope, its feet were getting too wet, so I moved it. Just as it was settling in – again — the dog ran over it, breaking off the main stem. And then, to add insult to injury, we had the Winter of Polar Vortexes.
Yet somehow the sumac managed to survive. And while it isn’t nearly as large and impressive as its big brother up the slope, it did manage to get the girl in its lap. Let that be a lesson to us all.
I’ll probably break the couple up in a few weeks; with her deep taproot, I fear Anne will become too attached. I won’t go so far as to eat her – that seems unnecessarily cruel (although it can be done). Instead, I’ll put her in a casual bouquet and think “summer!” when I walk by.