What did I plant in my vegetable garden, part 2

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(Click thumbnails for enlargement) On June 4, I posted photos of some plants in my garden that I couldn't identify.

A lot of people offered their opinion, but there wasn't consensus on what kind of plants they are. A few people asked me to post photos when the plants blossomed. Well, they did blossom, and they flowers are pretty -- some are white and some are purplish / mauve.

Now does anyone know what kind of plant it is?


  1. Oh, that’s Nicotania! (Yes, in the tobacco family) These are ornamental and highly fragrant, especially in the heat of summer. Water them well, and enjoy!

  2. Why, that’s a little human girl! It’s probably YOUR little girl — and you don’t recognize her? What a monster you are.

  3. definitely a little girl. the blue color might have understandably thrown you off, but i have two of my own and can tell you from experience that the color is due to a shirt.

    enjoy this season because in about five years i hear they develop thorns. yours might not, though. i’m hoping mine don’t.

  4. What a lil cutie! But you know, she’s not supposed to be around that stuff unless she’s 18+ with a valid picture ID.

  5. Yes, definitely nicotinia. As said earlier, beautifully fragrant and especially nice to look at in the twilight of evening…

    Be warned though, this plant is sold as an annual, but in the Pacific Northwest, it may be difficult to get rid of. I had a plant a few years back that grew HUGE. It lasted through the winter. I tried to move it. Every fragment of root sprouted a new plant! This stuff was all over my yard for years. We moved… for all I know, it has taken over our old neighborhood!

    Enjoy it!… carefully

  6. What you have there is a lovely ornamental tobacco plant. I used to grow them because they were supposed to be a deterrent to pests. Didn’t work for me, but the plant was pretty, and a good conversation piece.

  7. The girl has already been accounted for, and the plants are the same as what’s growing off that guy’s tongue in the earlier entry.

  8. The thing about ornamental tobaccos is not so much eye appeal as nose appeal. I’ve grown some that had white blossoms that smelled like heaven, especially just after dusk. The waft from them carried up to my second-story bedroom window. Heavenly!

    But most ornamental tobaccos sold have had the smell bred out of them, certainly all the seeds I ever got that had assorted colors were scentless. So sad, what is the point?

    I like flowers that have a good smell. But you can’t see smell in a catalog. So the trend has been towards larger blooms and doubles!

    I hate doubles. You take a flowers that have splendid and unique architecture and you make them all look like stupid pom-poms. They’re preplexing in many ways: the bees can’t pollinate them, you can hardly tell a columbine from a hollyhock for pity’s sake, and who needs ’em! Pftoooiee!

  9. is there enough active nicotine in nicotania to grind them up and spray on roses for aphid murder?

  10. Funny how easy it was after the flower became visible. I was pretty much sold on those Borage pics from the first post. What i don’t know could fill volumes.

  11. What gets me is that most people are throwing out stuff without any form of reference or backup in BOTH of these threads.

    there are thousands of species and assorted hybrids out there in the gardening world. What gets me is that the geek (mark) didn’t have the things labeled when he got them. :) It’s understandable if someone gave him seeds or he got the plants at some sort of generic home depot “flowering plant sale”. those are rarely marked properly (latin names)

    we know it’s a member of the Solanaceae family of plants
    that’s well established.

    but exactly what species or type is still out there.
    Nicotiana persica (Nicotiana alata) Winged Tobacco, Jasmine Tobacco

    While the leaves are different due to the harsher growing conditions than the plants pictured in the wiki (they would enjoy a bit more water and humidity in less harsh sunlight)
    the flower configuration is the same as are the flower spikes
    the leaves and flower production is affected by the lack of water otherwise I feel it would be a very nice match.

    IF there is a nice sent to the flowers (deserving of the name) then that would help to solve the mystery and I can get my scooby snacks as a reward :)

    or maybe a hug from xeni or something at the next san diego comic con?

  12. spray on roses for aphid murder?
    Save your cigar butts, pipe dottle and cigarette ends. Soak them in water. Strain through cheese cloth. Spray on bugs. It’s highly toxic stuff. And, uh.. ‘natural’.

  13. Except don’t spray tobacco water on tomatoes, eggplants, or peppers — they can contract tobacco mosaic virus, being related to tobacco.

  14. I still say it is a cabbage patch kid. They’re masters of disguise. Don’t let your kid go out there alone! They are known to eat children.

  15. OMG, typing with new contact lenses, one for far, one for near and I guess I couldn’t see what I was typing! Preplexing? A flowers?


  16. Cheap pipe tobacco works as well. You can dry it in the oven and powder it to make it steep faster.
    I’m distracted this evening. Mrs. InDetroit is feeding dinner to a pair of orphan baby Mallard ducks in the bathtub and Dog InDetroit is losing his mind over the little peeping sounds coming from the bathroom. Or maybe he just needs access t ohis litter box. Anyway, it’s mayhem around here.

  17. #21 you mean the deadly nightshade family?…at least I think that’s what someone once told me it was called. Contents may have become awesome in being remembered.

  18. Of course, killing bugs is exactly why plants developed nicotine (and caffeine, and similar compounds) in the first place. If a bug gets its body chemistry completely thrown out of whack when it bites a plant, it’s likely that the next generation will be those with a preference for biting something else. So there’s something to be said for the (exaggerated) claim that smoking is like deliberately sticking a can of insecticide in your mouth and pulling the trigger.

    But homo sap has enough body mass to tolerate moderate doses of toxins, and is weird enough to find being partly poisoned entertaining…

    Meanwhile, I agree with the others: It’s a perfectly reasonable plant if you don’t insist on trying to inhale it and if it isn’t getting in the way of things you actually want to grow. (If you are entertained by it, then by definition it isn’t a weed…)

  19. orphan baby mallards? Pics!

    my swear-to-gods true duck story(as reliably reported) Cop on bridge feels tug on leg. Looks down, sees duck. Duck quacks, walks away. Waits for cop to follow. Keeps it up til cop follows. Duck leads cop to sewer grate. Quacks. A lot. Cop looks in sewer, sees like ten baby ducklings treading water. Mommy Duck obviously wasn’t looking behind her when she led the family over the gutter. Cop does the hero thing,happy endings.True story. Now: how did the duck know it was a cop?

    I had the same thing of sorts happen to me with fallen crowlings. The little bastards all fledged and went on to live full, happy lives, eating songbird nestlings,baby squirrels and stray kittens.

  20. Pipenta 25: Don’t type with the new contact lenses.

    Type with the fingers.

    (Honestly, the things we have to explain here!)

  21. I also agree with others here that the rightmost photo is of a particularly lovely specimen of female juvenile homo sapiens, i.e. a little girl. I must mildly correct HeyPal 5, however: the outer covering is technically known as a dress, not a shirt. The gathering partway down gives it away.

    It’s clearly being worn as if it were a shirt, however. So I suppose it’s not as clear-cut as all that after all.

  22. True chicken story.
    I was working as a librarian. A chicken walked in, walked up to my desk, and said “Book.”
    I asked “Any book?” The chicken repeated “Book.”
    I pulled a short story anthology off the shelf (it was handy) and gave it to the chicken. When the chicken left, I followed. Down to the bus stop. Out to the edge of town. Over a fence. A hill. Down to a creek, then to a pond. In which sat a frog. The chicken showed the book to the frog. The frog said “Read it.”

  23. I suspect this entire plant identification thing was just a clever ruse to proudly display the aforementioned incredibly cute garden child.
    Well played, Mark.

  24. Tobacco spray is a great pest killer–though as mentioned before, don’t spray it anything edible as it is also highly toxic. I don’t smoke but we all have friends or relatives who do. Since they always need to get rid of the butts just have them save some for you. Soak about two cups worth in a gallon milk jug half full of water. When the water is about the color of very strong tea, strain out the butts and throw away. Put the water in a spray bottle and keep in a dark place. Just spray the plants lightly when you need to get rid of pests. If you don’t use it all up it will just get stronger so you can water it down after awhile.
    Lovely little dolly, too!!

  25. I read somewhere that U.S. children knows the name of 12 local plants when they start school, but can recognize almost 1000 brand names.

    I do belive you have the sollution to global warming right there.

    America, kill your television!


  26. If you get a tobacco horn worm you should post pics of those. i know they’re “pest” but i think they are charming.

  27. I’m surprised that Flip and Magdalane (obviously gardeners both) didn’t mention this handy tip:

    if you “dead-head” the plants (that is to say, snip off the old flowers when they get wilted), the plant will continue to bloom all season. if you don’t, the seed pods will form and the plant will complete it’s life cycle more quickly… and litter your garden bed with seeds come fall. if you want more plants next year, leave a few blossoms to set pods and snip the rest.

    be aware that your hands will be sticky afterwards…

  28. We’re missing the big issue! That little girl is adorable! look at that doe eyed, toes-pointing-in stance!

  29. ‘Seeds of Change’ sells N. Alata, which smells very nice. They grow about like corn, and have leaves the size of banana trees.I planted a row along the sidewalk near my front steps when I lived in Minneapolis. Frosts and freezes came and went, and the 6 foot plus beasts not only didn’t die, they wouldn’t stop blooming. Halloween rolled around, and I had to use a pruning saw to cut them down so that the neighborhood goblins could see the front door. I’m planting them again this year, just outside my bedroom window for shade and scent.

  30. If you go the nicotine-bug-spray route, be careful. A home brew can be quite a lot more toxic than a product you buy at the store.
    I adore nicotiana. If you’ve got the space for something substantial, and want to swoon over scent, grow n. sylvestris. It gets at least 5′ tall in the Pacific NW, and seems to be the most fragrant. The flowers aren’t particularly attractive — just narrow, drooping white trumpets. The leaves are huge.
    The variety that I think is prettiest in the garden is n. langsdorffii. It’s medium sized, and has bursts of wiry stems starred with tiny chartreuse flowers. The effect is of a bright cloud of color.

  31. that seed catalog had a dedication to someone I had neverf heard of:

    In Memoriam

    Hugh Thompson, Jr.

    True Hero at My Lai

    On 16 March 1968, helicopter pilot Hugh Thompson, door gunner Lawrence Colburn, and crew chief Glenn Andreotta encountered United States military troops slaughtering hundreds of innocent Vietnamese civilian men, women, and children in the village of My Lai.

    Thompson landed the helicopter in the line of fire between American troops and fleeing Vietnamese civilians and Andreotta and door gunner Colburn pointed their own machine guns at the U.S. soldiers to prevent more killings. Thompson, Andreotta, and Colburn stopped the massacre, rescued Vietnamese civilians, and air-lifted them to safety.

  32. Why brew a chemical pesticide when you can train one of those cute blonde/blue garden gnomes to flap her sundress?

  33. Flip, if you don’t know what it is, it’s default garden-center Nicotiana, the same way a once-blooming red climber the querent doesn’t think looked like that on the packaging will turn out to be a surviving Dr. Huey rootstock.

    (If anyone wants some, they’re welcome to show up at my place with the digging equipment of their choice. The former gardener at this address had a taste for grafted hybrid teas that subsequently shed their grafts and developed imperialistic ambitions.)

  34. RossinDetroit, can I use the pictures of your dog and ducklings the next time someone calls for a unicorn chaser?

  35. @56

    RossinDetroit, can I use the pictures of your dog and ducklings the next time someone calls for a unicorn chaser?
    I’d be honored to provide these pictures to cleanse the eyeballs of the afflicted. You may leave them where they are, or copy them elsewhere with our permission.
    The duckies will be leaving in a few days. We’re organizing lodgings for them at a nature center. The dog will once again have access to his litter box. I’ll miss the little peeping noises.

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