The difference between a flower and a weed is sometimes subjective. At this weekend’s plant swap, someone was looking for an ID on a plant they brought. We identified it as a primrose, but one of us later privately passed judgment on it as an invasive spreader. I confessed that the common primrose falls into the category of plants that I tolerate long enough to let them share their blooms before yanking them out.

Also in that category: creeping buttercup, damesrocket and some generic aggressively spreading ferns that I trim for bouquet filler before curbing their spread. The primrose and damesrocket add a touch of color in the alley garden before summer’s blossoms take hold, and they’re easy to pull before they go to seed if you pay attention.

Some of the flowery spreaders were something I unleashed on my world, like the pink mallow that so freely self sows. If it lands some place I don’t mind it, like the alley hell strip, I say more power to it. But if it lands at the front of a border and threatens to upset the design balance, out it comes.

I guess I’m just a sucker for a pretty bloom. Proof positive: When those blasted spreading bellflowers make an appearance, I clip them for a bouquet and and then try to tackle them before their insanely vigorous roots crowd out the campanula I actually planted.

What flower/weeds do you enjoy or at least tolerate? And where do you draw the line?