Do You Welcome all the Flowers of Spring?

The Spring Flowers We Welcome

As I walked around my property with my camera today, I was happy to see that the daffodils blooming. In Paso Robles yesterday the tulips were raising their red heads, but I didn’t have my camera with me.

Do You Welcome all the Flowers of Spring?

Spring Daffodils in Early March, © B. Radisavljevic

As I surveyed the bright daffodils that herald the soon to arrive springtime, and the ever present calendula which add color year round, I kept hearing a melody from  Gilbert and Sullivan’s Mikado in my head.

In the song “The Flowers that Bloom in the Spring,” the lead character, Nanki-Poo, is celebrating his approaching marriage date to the girl he thought he’d never get — Yum-Yum. (You can read the full plot with my commentary at Gilbert and Sullivan,the Mikado, and Me). You can hear the song on You Tube here:


I have also written the lyrics below if you don’t have time to watch the short video.

The flowers that bloom in the spring,
Tra la,
Breathe promise of merry sunshine —
As we merrily dance and we sing,
Tra la,
We welcome the hope that they bring,
Tra la,
Of a summer of roses and wine,
Of a summer of roses and wine.
And that’s what we mean when we say that a thing
Is welcome as flowers that bloom in the spring.
Tra la la la la,
Tra la la la la,
The flowers that bloom in the spring.

From wikisource


The Flowers We Don’t Always Welcome

Nanki-Poo’s song was joyful. But here was another verse sung by Ko-Ko, who had originally been engaged Yum-Yum, who was now to be the bride of Nanki-Poo. Instead of Yum-Yum, Ko-Ko had to marry the ugly and elderly Katisha, who had originally been selected by the Mikado,to marry Nanki-Poo. Here is what Ko-Ko sang:

The flowers that bloom in the spring,
Tra la,
Have nothing to do with the case.
I’ve got to take under my wing,
Tra la,
A most unattractive old thing,
Tra la,
With a caricature of a face,
With a caricature of a face.
And that’s what I mean when I say, or I sing,
“Oh, bother the flowers that bloom in the spring.”
Tra la la la la,
Tra la la la la,
“Oh, bother the flowers of spring.”

Also from wikisource


Do You Welcome all the Flowers of Spring?

Henbit Flowers in March, © B. Radisavljevic


I thought of Ko-Ko’s song when I saw these flowers, which also arrive when the earth thinks it’s spring. These are the flowers that aren’t as welcomed by most folks when they begin to crowd out the “true” flowers — the ones people want. They are the weeds and wildflowers that gardeners are often reluctant to take under their wings, and are, in the minds of most people, only caricatures of “real” flowers, impostors who steal valuable garden space.

I’ve often wondered why we welcome only the flowers we plant, and we cast away the others God made. They give color to the earth when little else does. Some people can appreciate the beauty of wild flowers and flowering weeds, but only in their place — out on Shell Creek Road where they don’t invade our gardens. In our gardens they “bother” us. We don’t welcome them or want to take them under our wings, as Ko-Ko put it.

Beneficial Insects often Welcome the Flowers We Don’t

Do You Welcome all the Flowers of Spring?

Ladybug on Vetch Plant, © B. Radisavljevic


Weed flowers do get a warm welcome from the beneficial insects that we’d like to attract to our gardens. Before our flowers and vegetables begin to bloom, the ladybugs and the bees need something to keep them going. I noticed  last year when I got behind in my weeding after the winter rains, this forest of thorns that had grown up in my garden area.  Take a close look at them. Do you see what those ladybugs are doing? I certainly don’t want them to stop. Ladybugs are very helpful in getting rid of aphids.



Every spring I’m faced with the decision of whether to get rid of all the thistles before they bloom, or leave a border of them around the garden to provide habitat for the ladybugs who love them. I also have to decide about what to do with dandelions, henbit, and other weed flowers.

In the top photo below, a bee is foraging on the dandelion flower. She knows a good thing when she sees it. Dandelions are nutritious food for people, too.  It’s such a shame so many consider them as no more than ugly weeds. The bottom photo shows a milk thistle in bloom under an elderberry tree, another “weed” we didn’t plant that is covered with bees when it blooms and feeds the birds when it produces fruit. Read more about the virtues of elderberry at “E is for Elderberry.”


Do You Welcome all the Flowers of Spring?

Please share this photo on Pinterest.


This season, will you welcome ALL the flower of spring, for the sake of the bees and the ladybugs? Maybe you could at least leave some of them until the rest of the flowers you cultivate are in bloom. Your insect friends will thank you, and you can cut those thorns down before they spread their seeds. I will probably leave the henbit, since it does no harm and helps crowd out larger weeds. It’s also edible. What will you do with your weed flowers? Are there some weeds you are gentle with because you see their virtues? Which weeds do you never tolerate?


2 comments for “Do You Welcome all the Flowers of Spring?

  1. May 30, 2016 at 4:44 am

    We leave some parts of our garden untouched, so that insects have cover and food.

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