From my gardening guru, Ed:
Not sure of the first one- reminds me a little of a Columbine (Aquilegia),
but I doubt it. I'm more tempted to call it a Meadow Rue (Thalictrum), and
the more I look at the pictures, the more I grow convinced this is what you
have. There are scores of species of this, some if not all of which are
American natives, so you rarely see them listed as invasive. They have
numerous feathery, sometimes droopy, small flowers that usually range from
white to pinkish, and species range from very diminuitive to fairly tall, 4-5
The second one is a weed called Dock (Rumex), sometimes "sheep sorrel". As
with most weeds, it's got it's uses as well as a reputation as invasive. I
found one reference saying it's originally from England, but another one
saying the Native Americans used it - but that may not be mutually exclusive
if N.A. use was after contact with Brits. "They" also say it's found
It will send up stalks 2-4 ft tall with unremarkable flowers that don't look
much different when they go to seed, but these stalks may be dried for
arrangements and provide a nice effect. I've seen some dried stalks died or
sprayed different colors, at a wonderful nursery I visited in Connecticutt,
You should cut the stalks before they dry "on the vine" whether you save or
toss them, to prevent it volunteering everywhere; if saving stalks, you can
get 2 to 3 crops of them per year this way. As for weeding them, they aren't
called "dock" for nothing: their long taproots prevent simple hand-weeding
most of the time.
Medicinally, it's been used for skin conditions, especially itchy ones, for
thousands of years. The only thing I use it for is to treat being stung by
nettles, for which it works better than anything I've tried. (I grow nettles,
too, for tonic teas, chocked full of vitamins and minerals.) You could get
fancy and make poultices and such, but I just take one of the biggest leaves,
split the fattened stem down the middle with my thumbnail, and then rub the
juices onto the irritated skin for immediate and lasting relief. (Of course,
nettle stings themselves are an interesting treatment for arthritis....)
There are also reputed uses for this ingested as tea for bowel problems, with
warnings not to take too much.
They'll grow in just about any conditions, sun/shade, wet/dry, poor soil/rich,
and down here at least, a ring of leaves against the ground will survive all
I only wrote more about Dock cuz I'm more familiar with growing it. I bought
my first Meadow Rue a coupla years ago and started a couple from seed last
year, so my learning curve on these still has a ways to go. I don't know
anything about purported medicinal/herbal uses for Meadow Rue, but
ornamentally, it is far more attractive than dock.
Feel free to paste this into your blog if you want. You'll know for sure if
the 1st plant's Meadow Rue by next summer - if it blooms. I've been growing
mine in a fair amount of shade and getting good blooms, but this is the south,
and many plants will compromise and take shade down here just for the sake of
not scorching in our summers. If yours doesn't bloom and you're interested in
pursuing it, you might try moving it to more sun. At least the foliage is
nice by itself with this one.
To which I say, Ed, you rock. Right now, of course, the last hard freeze killed all of it, but I'll keep my peepers peeled for what happens in the spring. I also have a bit of a hope that the previous owner planted some bulbs back there somewhere. We shall see.
In other news, I keep having these nightmares--no, really, wake up in a sweat and everything--that we have to move again, this time in less than a week. The target city always differs. It was Pittsburgh last night and Houston a few nights previous. Heart-clenching terror throughout the dream which then lingers all morning. I used to be afraid of nuclear war and closet monsters. Now, the sight of some cardboard boxes and U-Haul gives me a case of the howling fantods. Life is strange.