A much under-rated skill in the garden is the recognition of seedlings – are they friend or are they foe? We do not want to waste time nurturing young weeds but if one of our plants has done us the service of propagating itself it would be foolish for their offspring to end up on the compost heap. Some, such as aquilegia and foxgloves are easy to spot, sometimes you just get an inkling that something is out of the ordinary. Earlier this year I noticed a couple of groups of unidentified seedlings on the road bank, clustered together so unlikely to have been brought in on compost mulch and looking strangely familiar. So I left them in place and tried to remember exactly what had been planted there the previous year. The answer was Cuphea ignea or the Cigar Flower, so named for obvious reasons. It is a native of Mexico and the West Indies, not a climate we can replicate in the winter, so we try to keep one going in the greenhouse (a struggle) and take cuttings in the spring. This is yet another example that gardeners are often surplus to requirements. Just don’t tell the Bosses!