Sunday, December 21, 2014

True grit

What to make of this? For several weeks, we've been wondering whether this is a desirable plant or a weed. Somehow it didn't seem like a weed, but it didn't flower or progress in any way. It just got taller and taller, sticking its head out of a stand of phlox - which, by the way, seems to be doing great this year, not nearly as much powdery mildew - looking very conspicuous.

True grit

What to make of this? For several weeks, we've been wondering whether this is a desirable plant or a weed. Somehow it didn't seem like a weed, but it didn't flower or progress in any way. It just got taller and taller, sticking its head out of a stand of phlox - which, by the way, seems to be doing great this year, not nearly as much powdery mildew - looking very conspicuous.

"What's that thing?" people called from the sidewalk. "Gonna pull it out?"

I hung in there.

This morning I saw it had bloomed. It's a butterfly bush. At first I thought a bird had deposited it there. Serendipity! I love it.

Then I realized that was not the case. A few years ago I planted a small butterfly bush. I figured had gone the way of so many other vulnerable plants in last summer's horrific heat and drought.

But here it is. Wrong plant, wrong place. But still here, testifying to its gene pool and stubbornness. Not bad-looking, either.

Virginia A. Smith Inquirer Staff Writer
About this blog
Ginny Smith, a Philadelphia native, joined the Inquirer at 1985. After stints as both reporter and editor in the city and suburbs, she’s been happily writing – and learning - about gardening full time since 2006. She’s won two silver medals of achievement from the national Garden Writers Association and in 2011, Bartram’s Garden honored her with its Green Exemplar award for her stories about “the region’s deeply rooted horticultural history, cultural attractions and bountiful gardens.” She plays in her own – mostly - bountiful garden in East Falls. Reach Virginia A. at vsmith@phillynews.com .

Virginia A. Smith Inquirer Staff Writer
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