While most of the gardens die back, a few very late season blooms are looking rather splendid. Tucked among the now golden leaves of hosta and ferns, Tricyrtis hirta ‘Miyazaki’ and Tricyrtis hirta alba are in full bloom. Aconitum carmichaelii is also just beginning to open as well.
Tricyrtis hirta alba
Aconitum carmichaelii ‘A
Hey, why not wait until the last minute? Why not let all those early ephemeral and mid-summer opportunists march right along and take center stage. The fall beauties we are enjoying now waited patiently for their moment of glory just before the curtains closed. The last finale. They are surely getting a lot of attention from their audience! Bravo, bravo! Very soon, all of these botanical performers will be taking a bow and will bid us adieu, retreating underground for a much-needed rest. And, how lucky are we, the gardeners, to have season tickets and amazing front row seats! We wouldn’t dare demand an encore. No, we understand that just can’t be. Instead, we applaud, take a deep breath, and say goodbye until the next season’s performance.
Tricyrtis miyazaki is on display in the shade gardens at the moment. Yesterday, I even pulled my intern off the shingling job she was working on to sit and take a closer look at these fascinating blooms. There should be a fancy hat designed after this late season jewel! It has faired well in the border of one of the display gardens here, despite the drought conditions, and is a great companion to the hosta and ferns growing along with it. Even though we are winding down in the nursery, there are still so many things to enjoy in the gardens.
Tricyrtis, commonly called toad lily, is a late blooming perennial for the shade garden. We have them in bloom now in our gardens. There are about 20 species of Tricyrtis, mostly from East Asia, where they inhabit wooded edges and shaded areas where the soil is rich and evenly moist to wet. Most of them bloom from August through September, but some will bloom even later as hard frost will allow. One species, Tricyrtis latifolia, does bloom in mid summer with yellow flowers. The flowers are very orchid like, usually having a base color of white to cream with many blue, purple, or reddish dots on them. Depending on the species or cultivar, the flowers are held at the tip of the stalk or at each leaf node, giving the plant an arching effect as they open and weigh the plant down. With more than 30 cultivars to choose from, hardy from zone 4 to 7, one can usually find a few for the garden. They are not a favorite of deer. We have had very good success with them and are always pleased to have them in adding such interesting color so late in the season. And how did the Toad Lily get its name? On the back side of the flower there are small bumps that resemble warts, much like the warty skin on a toads back.
This time of year color in the garden comes from foliage as well as late blooming plants. The scene changes almost daily, much like in the spring when all the plants are awakening, only now most are preparing to sleep. But some plants put on a last minute show with their flowers,while others do it with their leaves. A few examples of these in our gardens today are shown here. Continue reading →