After some research, they discovered it was gooesneck loosestrife (lysimachia clethroides). Their sleuthing was very impressive, as this is not a common plant found in may places. Yet the bizzare multi-syllable name was impossible to remember. Noose neck moose life? Loose leaf goose mite? Loosey-goosey light? Yes, goose strife exists on Google.
The landscape architect friends also warned me of its evil spreading ways. Internet sites claim that its cousin the purple loosestrife is an invasive noxious weed wrecking havoc across the country. With a bit of apprehension, the neighbors offered up some cuttings (actually some handfuls yanked out of the ground) for the black hole under my tree where nothing grows. The 1-foot high (30 cm) loosestrife was planted last year, and provided some light green in a dark corner of the yard. Although preferring moist conditions, it is happily growing and blooming this summer, but with no spreading. Could there please be a little spreading?
For The Record:
Heavy dry, clay soil
Shade, some afternoon sun
Blooming: calendula, salvias, nicotiana, monarda, cosmos, coneflower, asiatic liliy, daylily, first tomato blooms