Chicory (Cichorium intybus) graces the walls edge along Lincoln Park’s lakefront pathway. I call this plant by its nickname, “Cornflower“. Typical of many plant names both Chicory and Cornflower identify several unique species. Chicory shown here is an invasive Eurasian weed. Its cheerful blue flower is a welcome sight along an otherwise gray-toned location.
This is a member of the lovely vining Morning Glory family, opening its blossoms as the morning light highlights its beauty. However, this species is one of those non-native, Eurasian varieties that is a dreaded invasive visitor in American gardens. Known as Field Bindweed (Convolvulus arvensis) I enjoyed taking its portrait during a morning bike ride along a Lake Michigan pathway in Lincoln Park, far from any cultivated gardens. They appeared a fair distance from a prairie restoration area and were isolated from the golf course by a stone wall making their appearance more tolerable to the native purist. This Bind Weed did emulate its name wrapping around other vegetation proliferating this informal, unplanned area of horticulture.
Four different plants have the common name, Rose of Sharon. The images below are example of the species Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus), a shrub, found in North America. It had just finished raining which is evident by the wet blossoms and pollen-loaded, water saturated, and immobile bee.
I admired the blooms for many years along my neighbor’s fence. When I was looking to fill some open space in my garden, she suggested I take a few of the numerous new shoots emerging between the mature shrubs. I did so. My green-thumb gardener, mother, warned me that they can be invasive and I might want to rethink my use of them in my garden. This turned out to be very true. Like other advice from a mother, it took me several years to realize her wisdom. Though I removed the three full size shrubs several years ago, I am still continuously pulling out young sprouts every few weeks all around my garden. They are easy to remove when new sprouts; and good exercise.
The images below are from this dear neighbor’s yard. The upward view on the pink blossom is because the shrub has grown to over eight feet tall and FULL of beautiful blossoms. I am grateful for my wonderful neighbors, and also that there is a wide gravel alley between our two gardens; keeping neighboring seeds at bay.
Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) and Poison Ivy (Toxicodendron radicans) Two of a kind, both invasive ivies found in gardens and woodlands. Poison Ivy is a bedfellow to any plants in a garden bed; but it is frequently found partnering with Virginia Creeper. The leaves are distinct. The Virginia Creeper has five leaves, each edged with many continuous teeth. Poison Ivy has the tell-tale leaves of three which have few teeth.
Their colorings and leaf sizes are very similar, so first impressions often fail to recognize these dual characters in a groundcover or ivy covered trunk. Often their difference is discovered only after passing through, when Poison Ivy’s irritating personality is revealed.
“Parthenocissus” literally means “virgin ivy”. Virginia Creeper and Poison Ivy together is another example that so often in life the innocent and the not-so innocent are intertwined.