I not sure which I like most, the flowers or the name…Gill-Over-the-Ground—which, for whatever reasons, always strikes me as vaguely Irish. Certainly the tiny lavender-blue blossoms, rather orchid-like in appearance, could have been fashioned by a leprechaun.
Yet for many lawn owners and gardeners, this plant—also called Ground Ivy, Creeping Charlie, and at least a half-dozen other names—is the scourge of their backyards. Nothing more than a sneaky weed to be yanked, poisoned, and cursed unmercifully. Personally, I think they're the sort of folks prone to believe the only useful plants are purchased in containers from big-box retailers.
A member of the mint family, Gill-Over-the-Ground is easily cultivated, forms a sturdy ground cover, grows great in shade, is pretty in appearance, blooms well, smells good, while its leaves make a tasty addition to salads, and can also be brewed into a fair cup of tea. What more do you want from a plant? Plus, not only is it lovely and edible, it's medicinal—with a long herbal history of use in treating everything from stuffy head colds to lingering coughs to scurvy, thanks to its high vitamin C content. Which is why Gill-Over-the-Ground was among the first plants to be brought to this country by European settlers, who did know the difference between a an all-around panacea and a vile weed.
Alas, nothing I say is apt to change anyone's mind. Its detractors see only a vining invader, a nefarious slinking purple plague, sending out its loathsome tendrils in the dark of night in a covert attempt to take over their manicured bluegrass. You either like it or hate it. And I like Gill-Over-the-Ground…both plant and name.