09 March 2012

Name That Plant

I found this growing in the side yard garden last week and am at a loss to identify it. We have ovate leaves with a slight gray color and somewhat serrated edges, symmetrically arranged in pairs on the stem, with about 12 inches in height (30 cm), and a growth not very vertical. I do not believe weeds of this size normally grow fast in the late winter. I ponder the possibilities:

• Lobelia cardinalis.
This is what I am hoping for. In fall 2010, a local nursery went out of business. I purchased a handful of perennials including the lobelia at 50% off and planted them in various places. Although the nursery carried an incredible assortment of unique perennials, it could not compete with nearby big box stores with discount priced annuals and azaleas that homeowners craved.

I marked the plant locations since I have been known to accidentally plant things on top of bulbs and other plants that had been previously planted. Markers were set out - but without labels or names.

Spring came and the Crazy Dasies [posted 2011.07.04] popped out, but no lobelia. No acanthus. No ligularia. All that remained were the blank markers stuck in the ground like little tombstones marking burial plots.

As I raked leaves this last fall, something thick caught the rake. A more substantial plant was found poking out of the vinca. I was mashing something that was struggling and fighting back. After demolishing the pesky plant and after closer inspection, I discovered acanthus sprouts had struggled all summer and were attempting a comeback.

Now that I know where the acanthus is, I am hoping it will reemerge this year. So, the mystery plant could be the reemergence of the lobelia, too.

• Monarda
Last spring I used a gift certificate for a few new plants from High Country Gardens, among them Violet Queen monarda. Two clumps were planted. They grew all summer and died back in autumn. The mystery plant is growing next to one of the monarda clumps. Photos of monarda show leaves in a paired arrangement on the stems and with a touch of serrated edges just like the mystery plant. Maybe a root took off to establish a new clump next to mom?

• Weed
If a weed grows this well in the winter, who knows what it will look like in the spring?

Garden Calendar:
  • Blooming: tete-a-tete daffodils, magnolia stellata, abeliophylum, rhododendron mucronulatum

6 comments:

Janet, The Queen of Seaford said...
Ray, that looks like a Butterfly bush, a small one, but a Butterfly bush. Do the leaves have a scent when crushed? Monarda has a square stem. Helps with ID. Good luck.
eu.phorbia said...
I second the Buddleia. Some davidii cultivars have a propensity to self-sow freely.
Swimray said...
The stems are not square, so I guess that means no monarda. The leaves do have a faint scent, but maybe I am imagining or maybe it's still small and in winter growth mode. Sure looks like buddleia from photos on the web site. I never planted buddleia.
Janet, The Queen of Seaford said...
I did another 'smell test' on my Buddleia, no real scent. Like eu.phorbia said, they can selfseed, and birds can help in that arena. Bet you have flowers on it this summer.
Swimray said...
Well, if this is buddleia, I have developed another hypothesis: The monarda received from High Country Gardens had some root/plant for buddleia in it, which took off over the fall/winter. Hope it is, since it helps make up for the other plants from the local nursery's going-out-of-business sale that died.
Swimray said...
It's a Buddleia all right. After pruning during the spring, it is very nicely shaped. I transplanted it out of the monarda, and gave it lots of room. Color: white. Thanks High Country Gardens for sending a free plant mixed in with the monarda!