Every August the Tansy Ragwort (jacobaea vulgaris) blooms on the island, and although the small clustered bright yellow blossoms are attractive enough – the plant is considered a noxious weed that can poison livestock. Traces are also found in honey produced in areas with a high concentration of this invasive weed.
My first clue that this was not a welcome plant came over 20 years ago, when I would notice Eric Boulton, from Somerset Farm, pulling tansy ragwort from the roadsides near his farm every August, and tossing them on the pavement. I have followed his example ever since, and encourage everyone to do the same. Ragwort is very easy to pull out (unlike broom) and since each plant can produce upwards of 150,000 seeds – pulling out the blooming plants can make a big difference.
The plant is known by many other names around the planet. The unpleasant smell of the blossoms inspired the names ‘Stinking Willie’ and ‘Mare’s Fart’. Not exactly the ideal bloom for a romantic bouquet.
Tansy Drive is another story. It was built in the ‘80’s – through the site of the old ‘Carr’ farm, which was then owned by Fred Carter. Carter developed the land into several parcels from five to ten acres in size. The subdivision was popular, being fairly close to the village -but not too close, and the acreages sold quickly at prices that would make current buyers drool.
Tansy is the name of Fred Carter’s daughter, after whom he named the road. Tansy is also the name of another plant in the same family (tanacetum vulgare) – one with a nice fragrance, cute yellow button-like blossoms, and some alleged healing powers. I like to think THAT is the Tansy he named his daughter after.