Here's the next entry in a round of gardening posts. It felt good to complain about the silverleaf nightshade last time. Now I'd like to turn my gaze to some garden volunteers that are actually wanted. I will also show off my impressive lack of knowledge when it comes to identifying plants. Maybe you good DCFers can help put a name to the biggest mystery in my backyard:

This Plant:

It started as just a wee tuft of silver/green in my St. Francis garden. I didn't water it, but it got bigger. And bigger. So big I had to trim it back like it was Russian Sage. It rewarded me by filling out into this lovely shape. I'm glad to have it, but would like to give it a name.

Speaking of names, meet Cedric:

Cedric is more of a draftee than a volunteer. He was scooped up from the middle of the street by a passing stranger near my mother's house and given over to her care. With her dogs being a concern, Cedric was promptly sent over to my well-fenced backyard for safekeeping. I figured he would dig himself out in no time, but he seems to be sticking around and enjoying the strawberries, carrots and other food items I provide.

Anybody have tips on keeping a box turtle happy? He has a water bowl, plenty of plants to hide under and gets fruits, veggies and the occasional bit of cat food. Every time I figure out where he is hiding during the day, he finds a new spot to dig into. He hides so well, I probably should have named him Waldo.

In general garden updates:

I found my first baby tomato on a yellow cherry tomato bush.

The pomegranate is blooming - I love the exuberance of the flowers!

How is everybody else's garden going? This hot spell makes keeping up with watering more challenging, but nothing I won't have to get used to as the summer comes in. I'm establishing a lot of new plants, so this first summer will be critical.

Views: 19

Comment by Edith Grove on May 27, 2010 at 1:36pm
I have a ton of rosemary - both upright and creeping. The turtle loves them. My mystery plant is definitely not rosemary. I'll see about getting a better close up picture posted.
Comment by hettie on May 27, 2010 at 1:37pm
doesn't have the right shape for rosemary. do you have a close up of the leaves and the stems?
Comment by hettie on May 27, 2010 at 1:39pm
oops! you beat me to the pic suggestion. the first thing it makes me think of is a threadleaf sage, artemesia filifolia. I'll see if I can find an image.
Comment by Edith Grove on May 27, 2010 at 1:45pm

Comment by hettie on May 27, 2010 at 2:44pm
hmm, I still think it might be an artemisia, but the leaves are wrong for threadleaf sage. maybe it's a ludoviciana or a carruthii? if it is an artemisia, it will bloom soon and that might give you a better idea of what it is, though you can rule out the genus by crushing some leaves. does it smell herby and pungent? most artemisia do. I'm not home, so I don't have any plant books in front of me, but the leaves also look sort of like little sagebrush, another in the same genus. though I think your plant is way bigger than they grow in the wild. of course that might happen if it gets water and love!
Comment by Edith Grove on May 27, 2010 at 3:27pm
Hettie - Thank you for your help, I think we're heading in the right direction. I've seen the flowers and they are small, dense, off-white little things. You almost wouldn't even notice them unless you were looking for them. When crushed, the leaves have no discernible scent - which makes me think twice about the artemesia diagnosis. I also haven't watered it a single time and it's looking quite vigorous. The plot thickens!
Comment by Krista on May 27, 2010 at 4:23pm
Cedric (aka Waldo) is adorable! and will help keep the nasty bugs away! you're so sweet to put out so many treats for him! We had two turtles (torta and tiber) at a house I rented a few years back--I would throw out stems and lettuce on the verge to them, but not much else--they are survivors and seem to take care of themselves. Sometimes the treaties I left for them would sit there for days with zero notice from them. Enjoy your garden and your new little friend!!!
Comment by Edith Grove on June 10, 2010 at 10:28pm
Judy, I haven't figured it out yet. Let me know if you find anything out!
Comment by Jim M on July 6, 2010 at 7:53pm
I'll venture a guess on the unknown plant. It's still unknown, right? It looks like it could be fourwing saltbush (Atriplex). It is a little hard to tell from the photos though. The fruit/seeds, once they appear, are a dead giveaway. The leaves also taste a bit salty if you choose to gnaw on them :)
Comment by Edith Grove on July 6, 2010 at 9:18pm
Hmm, Jim, that certainly looks close. The leaves are thinner than some of the saltbush pictures I'm pulling up, but the inconspicuous flowers look pretty similar. I'll give it a good gnaw tomorrow and see if it tastes salty.


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