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Garden journal entry


Teucrium botrys at the end of its bloom period
August 03, 2014. My memory is failing me! This weekend, I managed to identify TWO plants that I had grown in years past that volunteered in our garden. A few years after first growing them, I knew they looked familiar, but I couldn't put my finger on just what they were. The first case was a mystery that had been evolving all season: in early spring, I noticed the first seedlings come up in my nursery area. I recognized them as something I had grown on purpose, but didn't recall the species. Were they scutellarias? Salvias? I seemed to recollect that whatever they were, they had turned out to be annuals, not returning the following season. So I placed a few of them in the rock garden for observation, and weeded most of them out. A few months later, they were blooming, and didn't look like skullcaps. Hmm... Definitely lamiaceae, and the seed structures that started developing in recent weeks looked like salvia, but those flowers? Finally, after I collected seed and really wanted to put the correct name on my seed envelope, I took my question to the Name That Plant forum at GardenWeb, and soon enough, I had my answer: it was Teucrium botrys. Oh, yeah, now I remember... I had first grown them 3 years ago, in 2011, and they didn't return in 2012. What possessed those seeds to skip two more years and then germinate en masse in 2014? Was it the very cold winter we had? Do the seeds need several cold/warm cycles? I may never know.
The other mystery volunteer snuck up between the flatstone pathway alongside our swimming pond. Unlike the Teucrium, which I'd been watching all year, this one just suddenly seemed to appear, in full bloom. It looked like a cleome, but it wasn't like the big Cleome hassleriana we grew years and years ago. Yet it was so familiar... Another foray to the forum produced a second hit: this was in fact a close relative of that cleome, Polanisia dodecandra. Its incubation period was the same as the Teucrium's: I last grew this wildflower near that area in 2011.
Am I losing my mind, or is it inevitable that some plants slip away from my consciousness, with well over 2000 of them featured on these pages? I hope it's the latter – and I'm glad to have the internet to help me rediscover the identities of volunteers returning to our garden after a few years' absence.

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Last modified: September 09, 2009
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