Weed Warrior: Field Scabious and what to grow instead

Field Scabious, pronounced skay-be-us, is a herbal escapee from medicinal gardens where it was grown to treat Scabies, eczema, and other rashes in pioneering days.

Now, according to the Invasive Species Council of B.C., Field Scabious is an invasive taprooted weed that gets into pastures and is difficult to control.

The Grow-me-Insteads that the ISCBC recommends include Columbines —whose bell-shaped flowers, gardeningknowhow.com says will bring hummingbirds to your yard, if you plant them in well drained mulchy soil, in partial shade.

Nodding Onion is another GMI that wildflower.org tells us has an edible stem, bulb and bulblet, with similar medicinal uses as garlic.

The website also says that Northwest Coast First Nations would steam edible parts in pits, and that Chicago is named after the Algonquin name chigagou for this onion.

The flower cluster at the top of Nodding Onion’s leafless stem bends ground-ward like a shepherd’s crook and nods in the breeze. Webmd.com says Avens, aka Old Man’s Whiskers, is another herbal whose flowers can last for a month then its leaves turn crimson and can persist through the winter.

According to southwest.net, Bluehead Gilia’, stout hairy, sticky leafy stems support 25-100 white to blue flowers

The American SPCA says that the GMI Showy Daisy, aka Seaside Daisy, Horseweed, Fleabane, is somewhat toxic to cats, dogs and horses.

Why don’t retail garden centers have these warnings about their products?

The American SPCA has lists of plants toxic to cats, dogs and horses. On the website www.aspca.org, click on the line “Printable Lists of Toxic and Non-Toxic Plants: Dogs/Cats/Horses.

Cwf-fcf.org tells us that Common HareBell is pollinator friendly, and that deer don’t usually eat them.

Finegardening.com recommends sweet-scented Masterwort, a perfect companion for astilbes, ferns, and hostas that blooms continuously through summer and fall, and, like Queen Ann’s Lace, displays a pink umbel of tiny flowers framed by a collar of papery bracts.

Gardenerspath.com says the GMI Hybrid Yarrow has 13 varieties, but ASPCA tells us Yarrows are toxic to cats, dog and horses.

The GMI Bee Balm is listed by gardeningknowhow.com as a native North American perennial that is very attractive to bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. The website says Bee Balm has daisy-like shaped flowers with tubular petals in shades of red, pink, purple and white, and will add a touch of old-fashioned beauty to your flower garden.

With all the healthy choices, do we really need ornamental plants that are invasive or toxic to our pets?

Weed Warrior Frank

Above: Field Scabious. Below: Bee Balm, Columbine, Common Harebell, Masterwort, Nodding Onion, Showy Daisy.

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