"Gardening is about enjoying the smell of things growing in the soil, getting dirty without feeling guilty, and generally taking the time to soak up a little peace and serenity. " ~Lindley Karstens

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Mystery plant found during the front yard clean up

Although the freeze seemed did not damage Ixora in the frond yard, I found they were dropping the leaves like crazy in yesterday's windy weather.  When I started raking all those leaves, I decided they all need a hair cut any way.  Next thing I know I spent almost two hours cleaning up the whole frond yard.  Does that sound familiar to you gardeners?! 

After I did a good trim to those Ixora and Star Jasmine bushes, I found about eight plants like this hidden under them.  I don't know what they are, but they certainly don't look like weeds to me (at least I wish).  As much like free plants as me, I digged out four of them, and potted them, secretly hoping I just found a hidden treasure :)

Now, here is what I need my fellow gardeners' help!  What is this plant?  Does it worth my nurturing and caring?  Or it is just a weed that I am potting?!

When I moved to our current house a half year ago, I did not notice these plants at all in our front yard, maybe it has been hidden there for a quite while.  If so, whatever it is, it did not grow much since it still only about 6 to 7 inches long.  Of course that also could be caused by lacking of lights considering they are completely covered by dense Ixroa and Star Jasmine bushes, and also the plam trees. Here is my front yard looked like in August last year, so you can have an idea what this plant's environment is.

This is the view close to my front entry way. From the front to the back:  Sago Palm , Crotons, Ixora, and Star Jasmine.  Except Sago plam was another house warming gift from my friend, all other plants belong to the existing landscape.

This is the left side of the same front yard area.  From the front to the back:  Crotons, Agapanthus africanus (Meems at Hoe and Shovel listed this as one of the six plants she can not live without.  I love it very much as well!), palm tree (only the trunk can be seen in the picture), and star Jasmine.

The front yard faces north east, and only gets a couple of hours morning sun.  The rest of the day is pretty much in the shade or receives dappled sun light.  You can tell that mystery plant really does not get any sun, especially tucked under the Ixora and Star Jasmine bushes.

Now I am anxiousely waiting for somebody tells me I found a treasure!  Or not?

UPDATE: The result is in! "FloridaGirl" at "Peace in the Valley" identified this mystery plant is one kind of Orchids, by common name Lady Slipper. "The Rainforest Gardener" at "The Rainforest Garden" further confirmed Lady Slipper orchids are in the Paphiopedilum genus.

Thanks, FloridaGirl and The Rainforest Gardener! It is very nice of you to spend time to identify this plant for me!

Now the pressure is on, since I am not a very good orchid grower :)  I think I will keep the rest of plants in the original location for a while just in case I mess up the four I have dug out (does not sound very confident, huh?).   I will keep you all updated the progress of this plant.  Thanks again.


  1. Hi Ami,
    I wish I could help you out with the little treasure you found. But I do not recognize it. From the looks of it I'd say it is some sort of rhizome and NOT a weed. It can't hurt to pot it up and see what happens... you know it has to be a survivor to make it underneath all the debris and plant material on top of it.

    So nice of you to share the pretty photos from your summer garden... it sure looks like you have some good plants to start out with. It will be really fun for you to grow with your new garden.

    Thank you for the link... my agapanthus plants are standing on their own after all the horrid weather... I LOVE, LOVE them!

  2. I'm no plant expert, but I'm a novice orchid collector (at it a few years, but limited by $$). Anyway, the whole structure of this plant reminds me of an orchid...maybe some type of lady slipper. ???? Lucky find! And you are so lucky to have inherited such a beautiful, mature landscape/garden! Our lot consisted of grass, an oak tree, a magnolia, and a couple of palms when we bought it.

  3. Floridagirl knows her stuff as those are definitely Lady Slipper orchids in the Paphiopedilum genus! What a find! Make sure to take good care of them, as they are kinda pricey.

  4. Floridagirl:

    Thanks for identifying this mystery plant! Wow, you definetly know your stuff like "The rainforest Gardener" pointed out :) IT IS A Lucky find! Any more experience to share in terms of care of this plant? I will also do more research on the internet myself. THANKS AGAIN!

    The rainforest gardener:
    Thanks for confirming floridagirl's find! Now I am excited, but also feel a little pressure because I am not a very good orchid grower :)

  5. Meems and Floridagirl: Yes, the frontyard area I shown in the picture does have a good plant base for me to start my own. However, the backyard is another story. I only have some palms and hedge bushes when we moved in. That is most of my work go toward. I will post another posting soon (hopefully this week) to reveal that part of "garden" :)

  6. How lucky you are to have a wild orchid growing in your front yard...I'm jealous! That is very exciting. Your garden looks like it escaped a lot of cold damage. My ixoras are toasty brown for now but they do make a pretty speedy recovery.

  7. You are a zone south of me and yet still had freeze damage. I thought zone 10 was immune to that. You have a lot that is still beautiful though! What a great plant to find in your garden! I'm going to look closer under MY bushes. Maybe I'll have a mystery plant too :)

  8. Wow! What a find! An orchid growing naturally in your garden! I'm VERY impressed! And your garden is beautiful!

  9. Love those mystery plants -- especially when you can ID them. Susan, didn't you get a rain lily? Gorgeous! It makes weeding difficult, but restraint gratifying.
    Meems, I think the agapanthus you gave me is one of my few survivors. Pink firespike looks like toast, but I'm betting it's a comeback kid. Am I right?

  10. First seeing the picture I thought an orchid of some kind and thought how lucky you were to find those. Seeing the responses that you got lets me know I was right, and told me you are blessed with little slipper orchids. They look really healthy too.

    Enjoy and I look forward to pictures of the blooms.


  11. How lucky you are to find such a nice treasure. An orchid growing wild in your yard. Your landscape is lovely and reading your blog post this evening made me feel warm. It is 30 degrees here in the central states.

    I would pot the orchid and keep some for myself and give others as Christmas gifts to the gardeners on my gift list.


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