Wednesday, October 22

Help Needed: Mystery Plant ID Please!

Shirl over at Shirl's Gardenwatch just put up this drool-worthy post about a new Piet Oudolf garden that she discovered this summer at Pensthorpe, in the UK. If you're already a Piet fan, it's a must-see post... and if you're not already enamored of his work, you might be once you check out this new garden!

A mystery plant in one of the photos Shirl posted really caught my eye. Dark foliage, pretty form, great texture... it's not much of a surprise that I had to ask Shirl about it. Seeing the small-sized picture, I guessed that it might be a young, dark-leaf barberry. Shirl wasn't sure what it was, either, but didn't think it was a barberry. She was nice enough to send me her original picture of this area, though, so I could zoom in better on the plants in question... and I agree with her that it probably isn't a barberry.

Anyone want to take a crack at an ID for us? I uploaded the large-size original photo that Shirl emailed me, so you can click it to see the plants in better detail. You can see them behind the sedums in this picture:

We both agree that it probably isn't a barberry (berberis) but haven't hit upon a positive ID yet. My best guess is black cow parsley (anthriscus sylvestris 'Ravenswing') but that's just a guess. I get the impression that this plant is much more fine-textured even than the cow parsley... but I have never seen that growing in person, so I really have no idea.

Shirl and I both really like this mystery plant, and of course feel like we "need" to add it to our respective gardens now that it's come to our attention, so any and all attempts at an ID will be much appreciated! Even if you can "only" help us rule out some of the possibilities, that would be great... :)

25 comments:

Kim said...

I'm just guessing - is it some kind of heather or heath?

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Wish I could help you but I can't even venture a guess. I have seen something like it but didn't know what that was.

Anu-Kristin said...

Maybe its Aster laterifolius 'Lady in Black'?

Karen - An Artist's Garden said...

I am sorry I cannot really tell from the photo.
Black cow parsley is a bi-annual with cow parsley like leaves, it does grow to 4 foot in its second year. Mine is just at the end of its first year and is only a few inches.
Its nice though - I understand why it caught your eye.
Karen

Yolanda Elizabet said...

Perhaps Shirl could contact the owners of the garden and ask which plant it is? I know that Piet Oudolf likes to try out unusual plants. That's why I love going to his nursery as I can find some real show stoppers there for my own garden. It's nice to grow plants that not everybody has in their gardens. ;-)

imogen said...

Anu-kristin is nearly right, it is Aster lateriflorus 'Horizontalis' (I only know this as I am lucky enough to be the gardener at Pensthorpe!) It's lovely to hear such positive comments about the garden by the way.

Blackswamp_Girl said...

Thank You Everyone! I now have some new plants to look up that aren't quite the one in the picture but are similar enough that I might be interested in learning more about them anyway... I hadn't anticipated that!

And we were lucky enough to have the gardener from Pensthorpe stop by to give us a definitive ID, too. Thanks so much, imogen, for dropping by and solving the mystery! :)

Gail said...

Hi, What a beautiful garden...and what wonderful help you have had id-ing the plant. I am going to google it and read more. It looks terrific. Gail

shirl said...

Hi again Kim :-D

Excellent - you have an ID on the plant and all the way from the garden too!! How cool is that :-D

Thanks Imogen :-D

Karen - An Artist's Garden said...

That is so cool
(that the plant has been identified by Imogen)
K

kate smudges said...

I am glad that you were able to get an id on this plant - aren't bloggers great? It looks stunning behind with the Sedum. Well, the entire garden does.

Have you had a frost yet?

Pam said...

It is beautiful - and does have that 'must have' lure, doesn't it? Piet Oudolf gardens are just dreamy I think.

Frances said...

Hi Kim, that plant is perfect for my black garden. I can see why you hunger for it and love that you went the extra mile to even post about it to get an ID. It is the coolest thing that the gardener responded!

Frances
http://fairegarden.wordpress.com/

joey said...

Kim ... a great photo! Wish my eyes and head were with you! Hugs!

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

I've never had much luck with those dark-leaves Asters. I think the same effect could be achieved with a Coleus called 'Catigny,' if you have similar problems with the dark Asters.

EAL said...

I have never been disappointed when asking for a plant ID. Gotta love garden bloggers!
Cool plant, BTW.

westcobich said...

I have no idea at all about what the plant is (not even sure which one it is in the picture) but I have to say, the flower names and garden language you use is like poetry for me.
I love coming here; it's a 'virtual' garden in its truest sense. And I think, slowly, slowly, I am getting ideas for what to do with some of our garden areas.

Cosmo said...

It's a great photo, Kim--and the combination of the sedum with the aster is wonderful, I can see why you were drawn to it. It's really a wonderful photo!

lisa said...

Cool plant! I'm glad you got an ID, now I find myself wanting one! :)

lisa said...

BTW, while searching for a seed source, I discovered that this flower is considered native in some parts of Wisconsin!

garden girl said...

very pretty plant and garden. I love asters, and love purple foliage. Combined, they make a hard-to-resist plant!

Shady Gardener said...

Kim, I could almost "bet" it's a variety of Sedum. Perhaps Purple Emperor or Black Jack or Chocolate?
Check out this site: http://www.perennials.com and do an "advanced searach" by typing in "sedum" on #2 Kekkyword or Plant.

Have fun! :-)

By the way, the purple leaved bush at my house is a forsythia!!! (There are types that have dark fall foliage... I'm just not sure which variety I have!)

Kylee said...

I see you have an ID, but I was going to throw out there the possibility of Globe Basil. I grew a dark purple one this year that is that color and very fragrant, too. I just couldn't tell from the picture there whether it was the same or not. I guess not! Still...very pretty!

SMC said...

Funny- I looked at the photo and my first thought was "What a fine, fine use of Joe Pye. The lilies in front are a nice complement to their uprightness."

Then I got around to the asters.

Kerri said...

Kim, I'm just so amazed that the Pensthorpe gardener herself stopped by with an ID for your mystery plant!!! Isn't blogging wonderful? :)

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