Queen Anne’s Lace; Daucus carota: “The Delicate Dictator”
Named after Queen Anne of England–whether it was the Tudor Anne or the Stuart Anne is still up for debate–Queen Anne’s Lace was scrappy from the beginning, with a bit of a thirst for bloodshed. The story goes that Queen Anne pricked her finger while she was tatting lace, causing tiny flecks of blood to sprinkle her handiwork. At the center of each miniature Queen Anne’s Lace blossom is a speck of dark purple or red. Let it be a reminder to you that though delicate, this wildflower is also fierce.
Sometimes the most beautiful flowers can be spotted alongside highways in summer, blooming outside of graceless truck stops in bright shades of pink and yellow, or covering immense stretches of open fields that speeding drivers pass without stopping to look.
Above: Be warned: Queen Anne’s lace is often considered an invasive species, and no matter where you intend to plant the seeds, they will spread all over your garden. To achieve the “Wildflower Meadow” look with Queen Anne’s lace is an act of surrender. Photograph by Erin Boyle for Gardenista.
Above: Queen Anne’s Lace and peach colored roses greet visitors at the door of Grdn in Brooklyn. Photograph by Erin Boyle.
Above: Photograph by Sophia Moreno-Bunge. Smoke bush, figs on the branch, and Queen Anne’s Lace make a romantic, moody bouquet. For more, see DIY Floral Arrangement: Smoke Bush and Queen Anne’s Lace.
Keep It Alive
- A biennial in growing zones 3-9; plant in spring or fall
- Thrives in sun or partial shade
- Does not need to be watered unless there is a drought
Above: Photograph by Erin Boyle. A tabletop arrangement of Queen Anne’s Lace and crabapple branches. For step-by-step instructions, see DIY: Foraging for a Botanical Tabletop.
Queen Anne’s Lace, tempting us from across the highway barrier, grows wild in fields and is often found occupying empty lots in the countryside. It looks like a massive lace doily with a flat rosette of tiny white flowers, supported by a 3-to-5-foot stem.
Above: Photograph by Erin Boyle. As small and delicate as her white flowers are, Queen Anne’s Lace is a “my way or the highway” kind of gal. She is tall and feisty, and tends to bully her way around the garden.
Above: Pretty in pink, Queen Anne’s Lace mixes well with smoke bush in a floral arrangement. Photograph by Sophia Moreno-Bunge.
Because the seeds are light and easily blown by the wind, once you invite the Queen to tea, she is unlikely to leave your garden without a tussle.
N.B.: Planting wildflowers? See our Garden Design 101: A Field Guide for Planting, Care & Design for tips: