It is unfortunate that I could find no better place at the time to plant ‘Lightning Strike’ toad lily (Tricyrtis hirta ‘Lightning Strike’, below) than tucked beneath a tall nandina (Nandina domestica) and beside stone steps that lead from the lower deck. Two clematis have draped themselves so that along with the leaning stems of the nandina the steps are impassable without considerable effort, so there is little reason to go near to view this delightful toad lily.
While many, and probably most toad lilies perform best with more sun than shade, I expect that only bright filtered light and no direct sun reaches this plant. But, the brightly streaked gold foliage and abundant blooms are evidence that the spot is advantageous, and the toad lily does not suffer the browned leaf tips that the closely related ‘Miyazaki’ (below) experiences with a bit too much sun. With too much sun causing slight damage, or too much shade diminishing the number of blooms, the trade off to promote more flowers is an easy one, but I’d be hard challenged to duplicate the ideal exposure of ‘Lightning Strike’.
And, a few months ago, this perfect setting was nearly spoiled. Too many times my wife has threatened to chop back the nandina and clematis, but finally, earlier this year she ignored my pleadings and chopped the nandina so that the steps were barely useful. She did her best to preserve the clematis, and what was not pruned she laid on the ground to trail past the toad lily. I did my best following the massacre to extricate the clematis from the newly emerged ‘Lightning Strike’ and to direct it back up into the multi stemmed nandina, but the effect of large white ‘Henryi’ blooms and nandina in late spring were less than satisfactory. Next year, I’m certain will be better, but I’m happiest that the toad lily did not suffer at all.