What is this plant, and what is it doing in our garden?

Garden takeover plant 1

See how this rogue leafy plant seems to be trying to take over the irises? (At least, I think they’re irises; have I mentioned that my garden knowledge is thin?) I am very inclined to yank it out, but won’t do so until you wise gardening folks tell me it’s okay to do so.

I know that lots of you readers know infinitely more about gardening than I do, so tonight I would like to pick your brains and ask your advice. There is a plant that seems to be trying to take over the perennial beds at the front of the Manse, and I am deeply suspicious of it. But  before I rip it out, I turn to you.

What is it? Where did it come from? Is it trying to eat my perennials? Here’s another photo of it apparently trying to overwhelm some perfectly nice plants:

Garden takeover plant 2

Another section, where the mystery plant seems to be overwhelming a hosta.

Am I right to yank it out? (Because, you know, I won’t do anything until I hear the wisdom of the community. Especially since my own garden wisdom is nonexistent.)

I do, however, want you to know that all is not lost in the Manse garden. There are success stories galore! (All having to do with the good gardeners who planted and cared for the perennials long before Raymond and I bought the Manse.) Here’s one, beautiful narcissus:

Garden success 1 And here’s another, a close-to-the-ground plant whose name I know not but whose mauve blooms are so beautiful at this time of year:

Garden success 2 And here’s yet another one! No idea what it is, but look how good it looks!

Garden success 3

There is so much to appreciate in our garden. But should the intruder – if it is an intruder – be booted out?

24 thoughts on “What is this plant, and what is it doing in our garden?

  1. For sure you have a nice garden. I wouldn’t touch nothing if it is planted around your steps. Unless it looks like grass. Over the years many of your past habitants have planted perennials to come up every year. One for sure is Phlox. The mauve flowers that are ground cover this time of year. You will see it in a very beautiful dark purple and much used for rock gardens. If you find it a nuisance transplant some of that in the box planters at the entrance of Queensborough or better yet your lovely historical sign. It will hang over the planter boxes each year and become simply breath taking. If you want to see it at its full bloom take a drive on one of the back streets in Tweed that brings you out to Sulphide Rd. I am not sure of the street name. The ladies lawn is breath taking. I am not sure of the others but could be a type of geranium purple or pink. and the little ones with white flowers can recall. But I bet somewhere on your property you just might have some bleeding hearts. This is the best time of year just watching mother nature with a little bit of man’s help take its course. And when in doubt what to plant to fill in an area buy hosta’s or black eye Susan’s. Also a neighbour gave me a Hardy Hibiscus. Just simply the most beautiful plant I have ever seen. Deep Burgundy. But of course that is my favorite colour. Can never go wrong. Welcome Mother Nature to the Manse. Have fun. 🙂

    • Wow, thank you so much for all the tips on plants and the good advice, mk! Several others have also told me that the low-lying mauve plants are a kind of phlox. Who knew? (Wel, you folks did, but obviously I didn’t.) I am used to tall phlox and absolutely love it – in fact have just done some real gardening by planting three phlox plants, of which I am very proud. Now I am going to have to check out Hardy Hibiscus – you have aroused my interest!

      • I think I should just have Ed Lawrence visiting when you drop by.. 🙂

      • I’m so clueless about gardening that I didn’t even know who Ed Lawrence was! But having looked him up, yes, I think I could use a lot of his advice!

  2. I also want to say it has taken me a few years of study to learn which is best in your garden to have blooms all summer long. I like to find things that will come up spring, summer and fall. So it has taken me a few years to get the effect I am looking for. Each spring I might plant something for next fall or vise versa. It takes a whole year before I see my results. I am not a gardener, I am just a beauty lover. So I experiment and over the years have lost a few loved plants. Drop by any time and take a look. I am learning also. I was hoping the former owners would have had this all done for me. You are lucky you at least have something to start with. 🙂 I am usually playing around with the east box planter to the entrance of Queensborough. And I was happy to see everything survived the winter and the plants are growing strong. But we did have winter kill with the cedars I noticed and lost my owne Alberta Spruce in my back yard. I did not cover it like I did to the ones in the box planter entrance signs. Live and learn.

    • Yes, “live and learn” (by experience) seems to me the best way of getting better at gardening, mk. When I read about what do to in books it doesn’t seem to sink in. Even when people point plants out to me and tell me what to do, I fear it kind of goes in one ear and out the other. (Perhaps because my knowledge is still so minimal that I don’t really understand what they’re saying – hopefully that will change with more experience.) But spending time with the plants (i.e. weeding) and watching what they do through the year is what seems to help me understand what’s out there and what might be added to it. I would love to get a guided tour of your gardening work (hopefully once the blackflies have subsided)!

      • Each of us has something that is unique and yours is writing and journalistic capabilities. Jos on the other hand is good with metal but does have dyslexia. He sometimes turns things around in his mind. I am a hands on people.. like you I sometimes have to experience things before I grasp them. Your not left handed are you? lol. Please drop by anytime. We could chat over a nice vintage Bordeaux and learn more in the life of a horticulturalist. lol 😉

      • Nope, mk, not left-handed, but as appreciative of a nice vintage Bordeaux as anyone – that strikes me as a key ingredient in successful gardening (and gardening discussions)! I will be happy to take you up on your kind invitation sometime soon. By the way, having just returned to Queensborough from a weekend in Montreal, I see that the blackflies have abated – only to be replaced by mosquitoes. Oh joy!

  3. I think you should just thin it out. phlox has a habit of going crazy. It is very beautiful it can crowd your other plants. It also comes in white and pink.Nancy Lou

  4. I’m glad other readers could identify this, as I’ve often wondered, too. Speaking of plants, gardening, etc. have you noticed that impatiens are less available this year? I have been to at least seven different gardening centres, and none of them had impatiens. I just figured the stock hadn’t arrived, but then I was told that there is a virus that causes a fungus on the impatiens, and is affecting stock through much of North America. That explains why a few of mine sort of fell apart late last summer. They were dying, but I thought maybe something had gone amiss with my use of Miracle Gro. Here is more information about this virus:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/18/garden/a-mold-devastates-impatiens.html?_r=0

    • I presume you have an Apple computer, and if so Pinterest is an
      interesting free app. You might find it very interesting this time of year. I have already learned a few hints on vegetable gardening.

      • Thanks for the tip, Eileen! I have always been a bit wary of Pinterest because I fear I might get lost in all the lovely pictures, but I think your advice is wise.

    • I can’t believe I’m actually saying this, Sash (because it suggests some actual gardening knowledge, but I’ll explain that in a sec) but I did know about the impatiens problem. The Tweed Horticultural Society recently had well-known garden expert Marjorie Mason in as a speaker, and thanks to reports in the local press and a conversation with a fellow parishioner at St. Andrew’s United who is a splendid gardener and who attended the talk, I’d learned that impatiens is problematic at the moment. Apparently even if one does find it for sale somewhere one should not buy or plant it. Let’s hope the impatiens return to health soon!

  5. The first plant looks like something I should know, but no name is coming to me. I’d pull out the bits that are overwhelming the hosta and leave the rest to see if it gets an interesting flower later in the year. Then if you don’t like it, you can pull out the rest – unless it is some kind of herb you can use in cooking.
    The third – rock phlox – comes in many colours from white through pink to purple and is verypretty in spring spilling over rocks.
    The fourth pic is Solomon’s seal, a native woodland plant that does well in dry shade. I have some growing in with my ferns, and the white spring flowers are attractive.

    • Ah, Pauline, I knew you’d know a lot about this, and I was hoping you’d see my plea for help! Solomon’s Seal – what a cool name! It’s nice to finally know what that plant is. I saw some in Montreal this weekend too, and felt so clever now knowing what it was, thanks to you! And thank you too for the very sensible advice on what to do about the plant that’s overwhelming some of the others. I will follow it.

      • And where did that unusual name come from, I wondered. According to the Missouri Botanical Garden site, “Common name is usually considered to be in reference to the large, circular seals (leaf stalk scars) located on the rhizomes. However, Edgar Denison suggests that the name actually refers to “wound sealing properties” of the plant.” Or according to the Witchopeida website: “the circular scar left by the stem after it breaks away from the root resembles the seal of Solomon of Hebrew folklore”. So take your pick!

      • That’s some crazy stuff! My goodness, someone got thoroughly creative when coming up with that name. I had wondered if it had something to do with the blooms, which are in pairs. Reminds me of the most famous Solomon story, when he was asked to decide who should get the baby that two mothers claimed, and he ordered it chopped in half. (Of course the real mother protested and the fake one didn’t.) But what that might have to do with a seal is beyond me… All very mysterious, this world of plants!

  6. Advice from Dr. K. As a former processor of photosynthetic energy, I say if it is green, grows with no care, doesn’t need hoeing, doesn’t crowd the hosta too much and doesn’t try to get in the house, keep it, brag about it and pretend that it’s something new that you got from a nursery.

  7. oh, Kitty, you didn’t take notes! Cranesbill Geranium (it will be purple) with some iris tucked in there, the aforementioned flox and solomon seal (which I love but grows like nuts).
    that Pinterest app sounds like a find! Keep up the good work. Black flies drove me in yesterday, mosquito net and all. It’s only +5 here. brrr

    • Oh, Kitty, I knew you’d know – and no, I didn’t take notes, sorry! Like I said in response to mk’s comment, I’m afraid gardening information goes in one ear and out the other with me. I need to actually see and do it to understand what’s going on. Experiential, you might say. Yikes, sounds like your springtime Down East is being less than hospitable! A lovely evening at the Manse today – temperature in the mid-20s, blackflies scarce (thanks to a nice breeze) and mosquitoes only mildly irritating. Who could ask for more?

  8. What you have there is a geranium, I think……called a geranium macro-rhizom. I have it in my garden and love it. It acts as a floor covering and is really nice around a rock or garden ornament, giving it a lacy look. It acts like a weed in that it is very tough, easy to split and start somewhere else, but the flower is not the showiest…..little purple ones.
    Nice to meet you the other day. Hope you get a chance to drop over.
    Anne

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