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by Julie Brooks

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Sunday, 26 May 2013

What is this plant?

Morning everyone

What a gloriously sunny Sunday morning it is too, and with another day of sunshine and light breezes in prospect I know where we'll be - in the garden! I began a mammoth pruning job yesterday evening ... I know, not necessarily the right time for pruning, but there is an ancient apple tree which is growing right on the boundary between our and next door's garden, and it is leaning over our garden and the mass of tangled branches have created a very dark damp corner and many of the branches are resting on the roof of our timber workshop, damaging the felt, which has already had to be replaced once. Also, although it has loads of beautiful apple blossom every spring, the apples are always diseased and no good to use at all. I think that's possibly because the tree never appears to have been properly pruned, so it's a tangled mess with no chance of air circulating and not enough of a gap between branches to slow down the spread of grubs, etc., from one developing fruit to the next. I think it's also possibly quite an old tree too. Soooo, yesterday evening I bit the bullet and decided to give it a bit of a haircut. I focused on the lower "layers" and tried to really open it up. Pruning is the job I tend to do in the garden because I have a better eye for shape and form than hubby, although I'm certainly no expert! Hubby went up on the steps and cut some of the branches which are resting on the workshop roof which I couldn't reach, being vertically challenged as our lovely electrician so kindly phrased it a few weeks ago, but there's still more to do, and that's a job we'll hopefully finish today. Whether it will make any difference to the quality of the fruit long term we don't know. Only time will tell.

But I deviate here! The reason for this post was to ask for your help!

Just in the last week, with being out in the garden a bit now we are getting some decent weather on the odd day, we've noticed this plant growing right against the edge of the lawn in an area which is semi-shady first thing in the morning but then pretty much in full sun for the rest of the day. We haven't a clue what it is and I wondered whether anyone out there might be able to help us to identify it. It looks like something which should be in the Med to me and reminds me of some plants in a garden in Spain which fascinated me when we spent some time there many years ago, but given that our weather is distinctly not Mediterranean for most of the year then I doubt it is the same plant!

As you can see, the plant has long pointed leaves and they are quite sharp on their edges. They are also quite thick, tough leaves. The leaves are currently about a foot long, perhaps a bit longer, and are probably getting on for two inches wide at the base. It's growing as three separate "clumps", and two of these clumps have a flower developing in the centre. The third clump is a little way behind in terms of growth and currently I can't see a flower in there but that doesn't mean there won't be when it gets a bit bigger!

I've looked online but haven't found anything concrete, so am asking for your help on this one. We need to know if it's going to get huge because if it is we need to move it!! Also, is it a plant or a weed?

It's never grown in the garden before this Spring and it's certainly not something we've planted, so we are absolutely baffled! We've been here almost 3 years now so it clearly isn't a perennial, or if it is, how did it get here?

I hope I might hear from you in the comments box with your suggestions of what it might be and appreciate any help you can give me.

Well, household chores are pressing for my attention, so I'd best be off.

Have a great Sunday whatever you're doing ... barbecue for us later - yum!

Bye for now.

Love Julie xx