Could Sleep-Planting Be A Thing?

There are two mystery plants growing in the Driveway Border. Actually, two specimens of one species. They could be really big weeds, but my best guess is that they are Green Headed Coneflower (Rudbeckia laciniata).

DSC_0288
Green Headed Coneflower or …?

The thing is, I have no memory of ever purchasing or planting Green Headed Coneflower. I’ve admired Green Headed Coneflowers at the Chicago Botanic Garden and elsewhere, and have speculated about slipping one into a bed or border of ours.  But never, as far as I am aware, have I translated thought into action.

Now and then I do look with bewilderment at some plant growing in the garden and ask myself: what is that plant? And did I plant it? But usually the answers come to me within a week or two. Not so in this case.

So if I am right that these are Green Headed Coneflowers, here are some possible ways they could have gotten into the Driveway Border.

  • Sleep-Planting. Took a nap. While napping, drove to garden center, bought plants, planted plants, then went back to bed. Woke up with no memory of what occurred.
  • Benevolent Mind-Reading Aliens. Aliens read my mind and perceived my desire for a Green Headed Coneflower or two. Purchased plants after shape shifting into Earth-dwelling native plant gardeners. Transported from mother ship to our garden in the middle of the night in order to install plants. Returned home to a distant galaxy, their mission accomplished.
  • Nearby Gardener With Too Many Green Headed Coneflowers. Green Headed Coneflowers do have a tendency to spread, I’m told. Perhaps someone’s garden has been completely taken over by this plant. A tender-hearted gardener cannot bear to throw them out, so he or she digs them up and divides them. Then, he/she drives through the night, looking for good homes for the newly propagated plants.

These are all possibilities. Or they could be weeds.

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Green Headed Coneflowers in bloom. 

Green Headed Coneflowers are my kind of plants, growing 6 feet or taller and loved by bees, birds, and butterflies. It that’s what I’ve got, it may require some adjustments in the border. I wonder if these could be the straight species or the popular cultivar ‘Herbstsonnne’? They should bloom by September, so time will tell.

Have you ever had plants mysteriously appear in your garden, other than weeds?

49 Comments on “Could Sleep-Planting Be A Thing?

  1. By process of elimination, I am going with sleep-planting. If it was benevolent aliens, surely they would have brought me a giant garden chicken by now. And the nearby gardener would’ve put such tall plants in a more appropriate spot in our borders. Only, I hope you walked to Anton’s in your sleep rather than driving, because sleep-driving doesn’t sound very safe.

  2. I liked your thought of ‘sleep-planting’ Jason! Maybe you bought, planted it thoughtful or upset and don’t remember what it was now.
    However your plant reminds Tetrapanax papyrifer.

  3. Maybe it came in a pot along with another plant you’ve bought. Every once in a while, we find a ‘hitchhiker’ in with another plant here at the nursery. Maybe a Cimicifuga with a bit of European ginger who found its way into the pot, or a podophyllum with a volunteer anemone that has seeded out into the pot. Could this be? Or, maybe garden fairies brought it knowing how well you care for your plants!! Enjoy!

  4. I hope you will keep us posted when you learn what the mystery plant is.

  5. oh yes, I have definitely had plants pop up. I once nutured a horseweed. When I finally figured out what it was I was so embarassed even though not one gardener brought it to my attention. ha… I once put tall lily bulbs into a friends prairie garden. She swears that squirrels planted them there. That was too much fun. Even when I tried to confess to spoofing her she doesn’t believe me. ‘Sleep Planting’, I will have to keep that excuse in mind the next time I forget what I plant where or “if” .

  6. Fun post. Yes, I’ve found strange things growing and can’t remember if someone gave it to me, what its name is or how it got there. Maybe, gardeners have short termed memory issues when it comes to plants. 🙂

  7. Yes, I have a lovely little shrub that came from seeds dropped by some animal or bird. As to your plant, those do not look like any coneflower leaves I have ever seen. I am assuming you have not seen the blooms? Seems more like a bear’s breech leaf or even lovage. Guess we’ll wait and see.

  8. I vote for either the sleep planting or maybe your wife knew just how much you longed for a green-headed coneflower and planted it for you on the sly. I have a giant cone flower growing in my yard that apparently hitchhiked in with a northern sea oats I purchased. On a more serious note, I used to walk past a house with 10 or 12 red pots lined up along its porch. I had a red pot in good shape I didn’t want so one evening I sneaked it over and put it in the line up. After awhile, they planted it. That made me happy.

  9. Keep us posted! In my yard, daisies and blueberries have found their way into my gardens. Since I love ’em both, I leave ’em.

  10. Ha – if I did some sleep shopping at a garden centre, my dream visa would have no limit and we would probably go broke!

    I’m gonna vote for bird poop – you never know what seedy treasures it holds 🙂 Can’t wait to find out what this turns out to be.

  11. I am going with Margaret, bird poop. I have many plants that I never planted and I am pretty sure it is from the birds. One cool one is our cherry tomato plant out in our right of way. I wish I could take credit cause it is doing fabulously and looks cool climbing over the big rock. I should do a little blog about it.

  12. I am more likely to have plants disappear. When I peruse old photos or blog posts, I am reminded of what I once had and I wonder where they went. Most of the I-did-not-plant-that plants are things like garlic mustard, Queen Anne’s lace, and Canada thistle. And honeysuckle shrubs. And mulberry trees. You get the picture.

  13. Thanks for the laugh. Also, you’ve given me an idea for what to do with the seedlings I find when weeding that I can’t bear to throw in the yard waste. I pot them up and grow them on, and then don’t know what to do with them. My next sleepless night, I’m going to load up the car and go for a drive and plant them in someone else’s yard.

  14. I think you are lucky to get an unexpected plant that you actually wanted!I love green-headed coneflowers too. I’ve had a few plants appear in my garden, an Asiatic lily for example, that I have no idea where it came from. I’m thinking it hitched a ride with a pass-a-long plant at some time.

  15. How fun! I’m going for mysterious gardener who drives around in the middle of the night who wants to surprise people with beautiful plants! That sounds kind of fun… (I do wish a gardener vigilante type would drive by and weed my garden in the middle of the night. I would be all for that!) I have had many plants pop up in the garden, some that I forgot I had planted and some likely planted by birds. And, of course, quite the variety of weeds!

  16. I have all sorts of new mysterious plants that show up. I do have Green Coneflowers and they reseed far and wide. One of these years mine will bloom again (the deer love them) and I will have more.

  17. I have, but my explanations for how they got there were not nearly as inventive or entertaining as yours.

  18. Must be the work of aliens, perhaps of the avian variety, on some sort of migration. Maybe you should build a wall and make the birds pay for it.

  19. This is too funny. Sleep planting hadn’t occurred to me but I think it’s definitely a possibility. Not a believer in aliens so I’m going with that. Or the weed. When I was a novice gardener I delicately replanted a seedling I thought was a coreopsis. It turned out to be ragweed. I hope yours turns into something you want, even if it isn’t Green Coneflower.

  20. Hahahaha, loved this! I sleepwalk, but to my knowledge have never planted anything, the alien theory could be a goer, but I too suspect wildlife, they plant all sorts in my garden, by burying/poop. xxx

  21. I’m sure sleep-planting really is a thing, but in this case perhaps it’s a volunteer from your neighbor’s garden. I’m amazed at how often that happens here, and I’m usually thrilled with the results. Free plants!

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