First, watch this brief (one minute) commercial from the 1960s. If you’re at least my age (42), you might recognize the jingle.
A couple of weeks ago, at Allandale Farm, where I go to feed what Jimmy calls my addiction, I bought this plant. It was one of a kind, nestled among other pots of other sun perennials, and unmarked. I asked the guy out back, “What’s this?” He didn’t know. I asked the guy out front, “What’s this?” He didn’t know. I bought it anyway. I felt drawn to it, especially its red branches, and knew I had to have it. It’s not lush or an obvious showstopper, and it sort of reminds me of Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree: twiggy, droopy, and left behind. I’ve been trying to figure out what it is, and, as I’ve been fruitlessly researching plant images, the jingle from the commercial from the board game I played over and over and over again as a young girl keeps looping through my head. I’ve substituted one word. It goes like this, and I sing it to myself: “Mystery plant… Are you ready for your mystery plant? Mystery plant… Are you ready for your mystery plant?”
Not sure, I’m starting to suspect it might be a daphne cultivar. The leaf pattern — click on thumbnail at left for a close-up — is similar to others I’ve seen, including the ailing daphne in my own yard, but it doesn’t have the necessary full foliage. If you have a clue or an answer, let me know.
Photographs by Eli. Video via YouTube.