Early September flowers


The first flower of a seedling of ‘Miyazaki’ toad lily (Tricyrtis hirta ‘Miyazaki’, below) is larger and earlier than ones expected soon on the nearby parent. ‘Miyazaki’ seems particularly fertile, with numerous seedlings in recent years, though curiously, none this year. Seedlings appear identical to the parent plants, but I am interested to follow this one to see if flowers are larger, or if this is only wishful thinking.

A year ago, foliage of ‘Miyazaki’ suffered in a short bout of late summer heat and drought, but even in full sun there are few leaves with any damage in this early September. While toad lilies are recommended for shade, there is little doubt that flowering is increased with exposure to sun. The ideal exposure is likely to be full sun through most of the day, with shade from the late afternoon sun. In shadier spots, growth and flowering are disappointing, and in moderate shade there might be no flowers at all.

The shrubby Gordlinia (Gordlinia x grandiflora, above) continues in flower since early in August, and with more buds there are likely to be flowers through the month. This large shrub replaced a Franklinia that failed to survive in a damp spot, and while flowers are identical, the evergreen leaves of gordlinia do not change color in autumn. In a September with early cool weather, flowers of Franklinia occasionally persisted until leaves turned to burgundy. But, even without significant autumn leaf coloring, I am thrilled with the long flowering gordlinia, and the promise that it will prove sturdier than Franklinia.

‘Hint of Gold’ bluebeard (Caryopteris clandonensis Lisaura, above) is now at its peak bloom, and certainly bees have noticed. ‘Hint of Gold’ tolerates summer heat better than other yellow leafed bluebeards, with less fading, but flowers are delightful on all. I’ve seen mass plantings of bluebeards that are stunning, but with limited space I’ve planted only single shrubs. In any case, every garden is improved with one late summer flowering bluebeard or another.


3 Comments Add yours

  1. mary d. pierce says:

    Always a pleasure to read your blog

  2. C says:

    I thought I’d lost my Toad Lily, as it made no appearance last year. But it has reappeared and just bloomed this week. It has been a slow plodding specimen, although some spreading has occurred. It is in shade, as that is what is mostly present in my yard. I should try another in a brighter spot!

    I so enjoy seeing the bountiful display of your Toad Lilies. It gives me hope.

    1. Dave says:

      A luxury of a large garden is that plants in multiple exposures show which is most ideal. Several toad lilies in shaded positions fare poorly, and ones with increasing shade from overhanging trees show a steady decline. With toad lilies, err with more sun rather than less. Foliage of Miyazaki will brown in a severe summer, but others show no ill effect. The best exposure is protected from the late afternoon sun.

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