Thursday, 9 August 2012

What is it?

My wildflower patch has been taken over by a rather ungainly purple flowered plant.  It is about 3 feet high in places and dozens of seeds run down from the base of the flower to the top of the stem.

It is definitely an insect- pleaser and that is why I have allowed it to remain for the time being but truth be told, I am not very fond of it.

Can anyone enlighten me to what it might be?  I don't know if it came in my Sarah Raven seed packet or if it is just a rogue seed that planted itself!

Edited 10 August  The mystery has been revealed!  I was looking through my Sarah Raven seed catalogue, and on page 71 the plant looked right back at me!  It is called Phacelia tanacetifolia, a hardy annual and a popular green manure.

I did some research and  found out that it is one of the top 20 honey-producing flowers for honeybees, and also attracts bumble bees and hover flies.  It can grow a metre high and is excellent as a cut flower.  As it is taking over my wildflower patch I think I will use some in floral arrangements.  There will be plenty left for the insects.  It wasn't supposed to be in my classic annual mix and must have accidentally been put into it.  I will save some of the seed and put into a different area of the garden next year.

11 comments:

greenrabbitdesigns said...

I have no idea Simone, I have never seen anything like it before.
It does look amazing and at least the wildlife like it. :)
Vivienne x

marigold jam said...

Can't help either I am afraid though I have seen this plant before somewhere.

Lyn said...

no can't help you there, but if it is liked by the wildlife it is doing its job I guess! it does look very exotic!
xxx

Rosie said...

I can't help either, Simone. I've never seen a plant like it before, it is very unusual:)

KC'sCourt! said...

It actually looks like a kind of Thistle to me.........
Julie xxxxxxxx

Helen Philipps said...

Hello Simone I have seen this strange flower before, growing wild, but I don't know what it's called.....will have a look in my wildflower book and let you know if I find out!
Helen x

A garden just outside Venice said...

Hi Simone, first of all many thanks for your lovely email!
Your misterious flowers made me laugh, because they grew in my garden too, after buying some seed packets in London a couple of years ago :)
Have fun looking at the many insects they will attract!.
x

Judy Hartman said...

I see that you have solved your mystery, Simone!!
I would not have been much help, as I am not familiar with the names of many plants!
Happy gardening!
xx

Toffeeapple said...

Crikey, what a mystery plant to find in your patch. Glad you got to the bottom of it!

Kay G. said...

Glad that you found out what it was!
Please tell me that you have seen the movie "Little Shop Of Horrors"!
It reminds me of Audrey 2.
I'm glad that the bees love it, you are helping them make that honey, aren't you sweet! xx

Jennifer Richardson said...

what a fascinating beauty,
this unique little star.
glad you learned her name.
isn't it kind of your garden
to yield such a surprise:)
-Jennifer