A year ago, Yellow waxy bells (Kirengeshoma palmata, below) wilted in a brief late summer drought, and as gardeners do when a plant suddenly collapses, I worried that it would not revive in the spring. This is a shrubby perennial that is best placed in damp ground with a bit of shade, but I suspect that I’ve planted it in deeper shade than it would prefer, and in relative dryness. Despite this slightly adverse circumstance, waxy bells showed no sign of trouble for several years until it went downhill in a hurry after a few dry weeks in August.
The flowering display of waxy bells is not especially showy, but it’s favored in this garden for its maple-like foliage and oblong yellow blooms despite being less remarkable than many other more common plants. A time or two I’ve planted another into damper conditions, expecting that one has survived the worst, and wondering what could result with another in a more favorable location. But, as the dampness of spring became a dry summer, the ground dried out and the plants were lost. Now, I’m content to have only this one planted just outside the basement door.
As often happens, the gardener’s worst fears come to nothing, and the small clump of waxy bells survived the drought and the cold of winter. Today, there’s no sign of last years’ struggle, and I think (perhaps) it has doubled in size. So, the early dormancy a year ago did it no harm at all. Certainly, it didn’t help, but a perennial that fades in September from drought instead of in frost a month later will often have stored enough energy to survive until the following spring.
By early September, ‘Boone’ gladiolus (Gladiolus dalenii ‘Boone’) has flowered for several weeks, possibly for a month as one flower spike after another appears. Though I have stakes that are intended to support the tall flowering stems, the blooms often must be lifted out of the mud (or dust) since I regularly fail at this most common gardening task.
I’ve read, whether true or not, that gladiolus are finicky, so I have not grown any others. But, reading more than once that ‘Boone’ is sturdy and dependable I gave it a try, with splendid results (other than the flopping, which can happen with any tall stemmed flowers if they are not properly supported). I’m not certain that I can properly describe any colors except the most basic, but the color is described as apricot. Whatever, it’s wonderful.