How many more?

My wife and I visited our youngest son’s garden a few days ago, and in contrast to mine, his is filled with sunlight and a succession of perennial blooms rather than my emphasis on woody trees and shrubs with flowers jammed into the gaps. I noticed that rising above his splendid blooms in one area was a neat, small clump of Verbena bonariensis (below), perfectly planned.

How is such a small grouping of this rambunctious reseeder possible, I asked. Of course, the answer in this well maintained garden is he weeded the excess seedlings out, a foreign concept in my garden where seedlings appear randomly and rarely are any weeded out. Here, dozens of verbena poke above thick clumps of toad lilies (Tricyrtis, below) and Red Hot pokers (Kniphofia), and many hundreds of tiny seedlings are regularly stomped on as I roam about. The damage is hardly noticed, but it does help somewhat to limit the excessive numbers of the verbena.

The abundance of toad lilies is now somewhat managed. Several years ago, with more open ground, ‘Miyazaki’ (Tricyrtis hirta ‘Miyazaki’, above) seeded about, and occasionally dense clumps were divided and potted to grow on as giveaways. Today, seedlings are scarce with more ground covered, but clumps grow fatter each year and a few new cultivars are purchased each year, despite my pledge not to add new ones since I can hardly identify ones that I’ve planted.

A few years ago I decided to stop adding new ones, not that there were too many, but in many cases the flowers were barely different from another. So, what’s the point in adding another? But, the next year’s catalogs came out and a few more toad lilies were added to round out the shipment, and there remains a shortage of yellow flowered varieties, so it’s safe to presume they’ll continue to trickle into the garden.

The markings on this toad lily flower are different from the one above, but not by much. The growth of one toad lily might be more upright, or spreading, or one taller than the other, but many are similar. Still, I would not be without them, and it’s likely I’ll add more.

One Comment Add yours

  1. That verbena absolutely refused to grow for me! I think it’s so pretty, but it was, as my kids say, an “epic fail.” OTOH, the hardy begonias have completely taken over one side of my garden. I do love them, but I wanted a few dozen, not a few hundred. So I’ll be calling some friends to come get some, as well as the local community garden overseers, if they want them! They can take a bunch of hellebore seedlings too, while they’re at it!

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