Friday, August 11, 2006

What's Growin' On: 8/11/06

Save Me! Save Me! Help!

Realization Of The Day:
I think I've finally gone over the edge. (I tried to think of a clever garden analogy just now to use in place of "the edge" but failed.) And it's all the Internet's fault.

Okay, I have been out in the greenhouse doing a massive cleanup and replanting campaign (partly because someone--not Cary for once--dug up my only remaining patch of Swiss Chard in there). I lugged out containers of dried bean pods and radishes that have been waiting (since last year) to have their seeds removed. I fearlessly pulled out giant beet plants that had only half gone to seed but were laying all over and making a mess. I moved a big wad of row cover fabric along with various other non-living things off one of the raised beds.

And then I came to this. This thing. This clump. This happy little plant that mysteriously appeared last spring in a container that once held one of these (until it died). When I transplanted the contents of that container into the greenhouse bed several months ago (because it had a couple of volunteer baby lettuce plants in it as well), this clump was much smaller. And while I have been ignoring it, it has been thriving.

There is nothing else growing around it (that stem you see in the middle is volunteer yellow chard). It is surrounded by barren soil. It looks like one of those places in New York where they've razed an entire city block and are ready to start building the high-rise except that there's a rickety little cottage sitting at the edge of the property because the ancient owner refuses to sell.

I did not feel sympathy for this mystery clump as I might the ancient cottage owner. No, I was all ready to yank it out of the ground to make way for something bigger, bolder, and better tasting. Then, just as the wrecking ball that is my gloved hand was about to level the site, I stopped. I (gosh, this is embarrassing) started to feel kind of bad. I started wondering what kind of plant it might be.

And then I remembered I have a garden blog.

Where I could ask for help.

So now it's sitting out there, leaves sweating, roots trembling, wondering if The Girl In Charge Of The Greenhouse is going to announce a stay of execution--or send it flying into the compost pile.

I'm going to leave it up to you.

Does anyone know what this is? Is it a real plant--as in, something I should save? It actually appears to be lots of little plants all bunched together. The undersides of the leaves are purple. I have no idea if this is normal or due to lack of nutrients. I realize, of course, that I am setting myself up for possible total humiliation here, as I may be pleading for life on behalf of some common noxious weed. Yet here I am, tapping away at the keys when I could be out playing with the plants I can identify.

I'm going to go back out to the greenhouse and work around it for now. But if I don't hear anything from anyone soon, well. . .


  1. Is the plant fuzzy at all? It kinda looks like Ajuga (not sure on the spelling, but thats what it sounds like) - its a ground cover that spreads easily. Not to be confused with Arugula, which by the way I found at the farmers market and made your pesto for pizza. It was so good. Thanks

  2. Hi Connie,
    The plant is kinda fuzzy. The underside of the leaves have sort of a peachy type fuzz (very subtle), and the tops have these teeny tiny white spikes all over them.

    So if this is Ajuga (sp?), would it be a welcome groundcover in the garden? Or not so much?

    So glad you enjoyed my arugula pesto! Thanks for letting me know--and for the plant ID help. It's still in the ground for now--I'm done gardening for the night. : )

  3. Hmmmm....I wonder if it is Mustard? I grow a India Mustard called Red Giant (from Pinetree Garden seeds!) that is sometimes more purpley than red and though not exactly fuzzy, has kind of a rough textured leaf. I wish I had some growing right now and I could take a picture of it - maybe if I poke around in what is left of the bed it was in, I will find some volunteers.

    Its not a colored sage? You would recognize that by its smell, I imagine...Good luck in identifying the plant for certain ;)

    Cary at Serenity Farms

  4. Yes, it does look like Ajuga, also known as carpet bugleweed. Here is a link with a photo
    Hope this helps :)

  5. I agree that it looks like ajuga. I just purchased some purple ajuga to put in a new perennial bed, along with some short echinacea.

    Question: what kind of material do you use/recommend for deep beds? And what advice can you give us novice gardeners on starting seeds? How about Fall veggie gardening?

  6. Oh yeah... that's ajuga. The slight purplish twinge to the leaves is a dead giveaway.

  7. I agree, Ajuga, my mom grows it alot as a ground cover - it spreads like crazy!

  8. When I saw the picture, I thought "Oh, she has ajuga." I have it planted in my flower shade. Down here on the Texas coast, it has to be shaded and I have to make sure it gets enough water in the summer. In the winter, it takes off and produces little baby plants and small purple flowers. I have had it in my beds for thirty years. Of course the ones I have now are probably the great-great-great-great grandchildren of the original plants.

  9. The leaves look like some kind of radish to me.

  10. I wonder though - the bugle weed that I fight to keep from invading my yards (grin) has shiny, glossy leaves that are more round. But I know there is more than one variety. I had another thought (do I have to much thinking time on my hands???) but this came to me only because I was in the hay field digging up a burdock plant...your mystery plant also looks a little like baby burdock.

    Will the mystery ever be solved? hehe..

    Cary again, from Serenity Farms


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