Achillea millefolium ,or common White Yarrow, along with its more colourful cousins, generations ago became a standard herb in many gardens, grown both for its ornamental value as well as its wide range of applications within herbal medicine. Used both in teas and herbal compresses, Yarrow is reputed to treat all sorts of ailments both internal and external ... from blood spitting, to colic to, shall we say, afflictions of the internal orifices. Click on the links above if you want to learn more about its various and sundry uses ....
Of course we've never tried any of those but it's good to know we have it around in case it should be needed! We grow it purely for its ornamental value and have both the white and red varieties of millefolium growing in several places around the garden, as well as the yellow Achillea ageratifolia, which is often found dried and used in arrangements.
To my mind, Yarrow is one of those foundation plants you put down when you start organizing a garden ... it's an attractive, sturdy and remarkably hardy plant that loves to naturalize freely. And as such, it's a good idea to divide your Yarrow clumps every few years so as to keep it from entirely dominating one area of the perennial border. The white variety pictured here is an especially enthusiastic colonizer (which came from a small clump given to me by another gardener in 2004), and we really need to go at this one soon and divide it.
I guess it's one of those thin and pass along plants we always have every year, the ones who are too numerous, but too valued to just pull them up and relegate them to the compost. It seems we have an ever increasing number of these types of plants (Coneflowers, Sea Holly, Yarrow, Bee Balm, etc.) these days, which I suppose is some kind of testimony to their (and our) success. It's nice, though, to see our front garden starting to mature as a somewhat cohesive project. And the fact that in addition to the usual weeds we have to deal with, there are also desirable, useful and beautiful plants who are ready for new homes. And if we don't happen to get them all new homes or get them moved, they get to foster yet another year in the garden, just in time for next year's donations.