We have a mysterious presence in one of our borders: a delightful one, but rather puzzling nonetheless.
Standing just over a metre tall, this plant has sprung up at the front of the border along the field. Its tall stems, with narrow leaves, support sprays of these beautiful daisy-flowers; they lean rather into the garden in the direction of the prevailing winds, so could do with gentle staking. I love the prominent fuzzy yellow centres and slightly backswept petals of the flowers, and the bee population appears to agree, busily curating the flowers since they opened last week, but I am utterly perplexed by its presence.
I noticed the stems pushing up a month or so ago, tipped with dozens of tiny buds, and took it to be one of the Gypsophila paniculata that I sowed in the spring and later planted out around the garden, envisaging a haze of soft white sprays for vases.
They germinated well, and I pricked them out into modules but most of the plants stayed in their cells too long as I waited for planting space, and did not take off as hoped.
This plant has indeed sprung up in one of the locations where I placed one of these, and the leaves have the same format as the seedlings, but in bloom it certainly does not look like a Gypsophila; in fact I would say it looked like an aster, and rather a fine one at that.
Am I going utterly mad? Was the Gypsophila seed mislabelled? Is this a coincidence and no relation to those seedlings that I raised, in which case where did it come from? If only one or more of the other seedlings survived to tell the tale: there are still some very leggy sad plants in a module tray by the greenhouse, if planted out perhaps one or two will struggle through to confirm or refute connection with our mystery plant.
I shall see if any can be coaxed on. Failing that, there are still seeds in the original packet to sow in the spring; there’s every chance they won’t confirm either way where our mysterious plant originated from, but they may give a clue. And they’ll hopefully give me my sprays of baby’s breath, however slightly old-fashioned they may be.