1: an offspring of two animals or plants of different races, breeds, varieties, species, or genera
Hybridization of plants is big business. Ongoing is the quest for improving hardiness, growth form, and providing new and unusual colors. Gardeners sometimes flock to the results of the work of hybridizers, such as the newer varieties of Hydrangeas. Endless Summer® provides all-season blooms due to its ability to bloom on both old and new wood.
But for as much work that goes on in this field, it happens with some regularity in everyday gardeners' plots. Sometimes we don't recognize that it's happening, but sometimes the conditions are just right that we can't help but notice.
Last summer, I noticed that deep in my bed of 'Golden Goblin' Gaillardia, one plant didn't belong. Oh, it was a Gaillardia all right, but it wasn't 'Golden Goblin'. It looked much like the original Gaillardia that I had growing quite some distance away. Like a couple hundred feet away, at the front of our house. Now how did that get there?
Birds? Don't think so, since the chances of a bird depositing a seed of like genus and species right there with another cultivar so far away would be phenomenal. What likely happened was that one of the 'Golden Goblin' plants reverted to its parent plant. That kind of thing goes on all the time.
I intended to remove the rogue Gaillardia, but never got around to it. This year, not only did that one return, but there were a couple of Gaillardias that had yet another coloring - a blend of 'Golden Goblin' and the one I meant to remove. Apparently, they cross-pollinated and I love the result:
'Golden Goblin' doesn't look like it is in danger of dying out, so for at least this year, I'll allow them all to cohabitate. Next year, I may remove anything that isn't 'Golden Goblin' and give them a spot of their own.