The sun is in full splendor today at Coppertop. It feels incredibly peaceful up here. I spent a few hours watering veggies, weeding, trimming, and just breathing the refreshing spring air while accompanied by birdsong. ahhhhhh
Purple deadnettle, or Lamium purpureum, is growing in a corner of our fenced veggie garden. It’s a weed, but a pretty weed. It belongs to the mint family (Lamiaceae) and so, has a square stem with 4 flat sides as do all lamium perennial plants and mints, instead of a cylindrical stem. The weed’s leathery leaves are very distinctive, but the other lamium in the garden look similar, which make me think: Why can’t we just enjoy it!? It’s hardy, self-seeds without my help, and is pretty!
From a website about turf weeds: “Deadnettle is one of the first plants to flower after snow melt in the spring. Appearance in lawns will be linked to thin or bare areas that experienced some disturbance in the previous fall.” This makes sense as our veggie garden has bare soil edges which require repeated tilling or hoeing and weeding. The fact that this deanettle is growing very close to the asparagus row means I should probably keep it in check and not allow it to spread, as pretty as it is. We know weeds grow like, well… weeds. Most weeds are annuals. The lamium (which is confusingly the plural of “lamium”) in our flower beds are perennial.
To complicate this, I read an interesting article about a family who eats vast amounts of deadnettles: http://eatingmymoccasinsnow.blogspot.com/2009/02/dead-nettle-lamium-purpureum.html. I can tell lamium smoothies are not in my future.
Undesirable lamium (approaching asparagus):
The desirable lamium – Lamium maculatum:
Barely discernible square stem:
Update on 4/23: The battle against the weedy deadnettle has evolved into a massive effort all over Coppertop. Meanwhile a lovely pale pink variety of the Lamium maculatum is blooming in the perennial beds: