‘Sinonome’ toad lily (Tricyrtis ‘Sinonome’) begins flowering in early August in this garden, several weeks earlier than other cultivars. When first opened, the tepals do not spread fully, so that bumblebees that are so numerous in the garden must pierce the base of the flower to obtain its nectar (above). Somehow, this seems like cheating, but it has no obvious effect on the flower except that the mechanism by which pollen is distributed is bypassed. The implicit agreement between pollinators and flora is that pollen is dispersed in exchange for nectar, and in another week or two the bumblebee’s obligation is fulfilled as the flowers open fully to allow access beneath the pollen laden anthers (below). ‘Sinonome’ is a somewhat vigorous grower that spreads amicably around its neighbors, stopping immediately at the point where even a lanky stemmed geranium begins. Some care must be taken to manage other perennials not to encroach on the toad lilies’ domain, so that the gardener is rewarded with flowers on one cultivar or the other from August until frost. The flowers of ‘Sinonome’ are smaller and less substantial than other toad lilies, but the earlier flowering is reason enough to include it in the garden. The half-woody stems of yellow leafed blue mist shrubs (Caryopteris x clandonensis ‘Worcester Gold’, above) died back to the ground after a cold winter, and then with a cold spring, growth emerged later than is typical. In recent years only the outermost parts of stems have required pruning, but with a handful of days below zero it is not surprising that stems died to the ground. The foliage of ‘Worcester Gold’ and ‘Sunshine Blue’ fades long before flowers begin to appear in late July, but while in bloom the foliage is of little concern. A more recent introduction, ‘Hint of Gold’ (Caryopteris x clandonensis ‘Lisaura’, above) has woodier stems that demand only minor spring pruning, and foliage is larger and the yellow color more bold. It seems not to flower as heavily, but the contrast of foliage and flower is more vivid. ‘Hint of Gold’ and variegated ‘Snow Fairy’ and ‘White Surprise’ flower a few weeks later, so there will be delightful blue mist blooms long into September.