Thankful for diversions from real life

There are, of course, goings on of much greater consequence than reporting on the status of toad lilies, or to update that mild August temperatures have encouraged more and earlier blooms on Encore azaleas. I view these matters with great concern, but also must escape for hours to the garden where invading nutgrass is the day’s aggravation.

It strikes me today that the latest attempt to grow Japanese anemones (Anemone × hybrida ‘Whirlwind’ , above) seems destined for failure. Certainly, there are gardeners who complain about their aggressive nature, but I’ve experienced repeated failures finding a spot for this vigorous perennial to take hold. Fortunately, I’ve enough successes not to feel a complete failure, but still I am occasionally distressed not to be able to grow anemones and a handful of other common perennials that should be foolproof.

I’ve planted single and double flowered whites, and the pink ‘September Charm’ (above), and to the best of my recollection none has managed more than a few years. Unwisely, the most recent planting of ‘Whirlwind’ was done in July, and even with extraordinary rainfall since this is perhaps asking a bit much. More than once I’ve resigned to accept that some things are meant to be, but here’s one last try, and I’ll be overjoyed if a year from now I’m whining that anemones have become a bother.

Happily, many plants thrive in this garden, with toad lilies (Tricyrtis) currently at the top of this list. In recent years, seedlings have been transplanted through the garden, and clumps have slowly spread and become increasingly dense. Only ones planted into deeper shade have struggled, though I’ve not attempted to plant into damper parts of the garden.

The few cultivars that are occasionally found in garden centers have proved to be the best performers, which is not always the case, but others that I’ve collected are not appreciably different, and often less vigorous. With a small collection of toad lilies, I expect flowers from early August into October, and sometimes through early light frosts. While flowers are not big and showy, toad lilies make a sufficient show of delicate spotted flowers that should distract any gardener from the traumas of the world.

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Lynn says:

    Yes, Dave, it takes your mind off the mess we have at the moment when you see a lovely bloom in your garden.

  2. Ruth Bower says:

    Dave, I immensely enjoy your many posts and gives me incentives to add to my own garden. But I have a major problem with lace wings and spider mites on my azaleas. The laves are gray and dry. The plants are nearly 30 years old and I hate to lose them to pests.

    Also, I am eagerly raising monarchs and my milkweed looked so healthy a few weeks ago, but now even with all the rain is dry looking and full of aphids.

    Help! I have avoided using any insecticides in the garden. Not sure what to do. Also, I had a gorgeous zucchini plant with tons of blossoms and within days it was history.

    What would you suggest?

    Ruth

    On Mon, Aug 21, 2017 at 12:12 PM, Ramblin’ through Dave’s Garden wrote:

    > Dave posted: “There are, of course, goings on of much greater consequence > than reporting on the status of toad lilies, or to update that mild August > temperatures have encouraged more and earlier blooms on Encore azaleas. I > view these matters with great concern, but als” >

    1. Dave says:

      Lacewings are difficult because insecticides sprays do not dependably reach the undersides of leaves. Thus, a systemic insecticide is necessary so that it goes up through the roots into the leaves. Many of the systemic insecticides are neonics that can leave traces in pollen and nectar. While harm from this remains conjecture while research continues, the best practice is not to apply systemics while a plant is flowering. This, of course, is not a problem with the azaleas, but it could be with milkweeds. Although it is not a complete solution, aphids can be controlled with insecticial soaps which are less likely to be a problem for butterflies because they kill on contact.

      As a side note, in addition to repeat blooms Encore azaleas have proved to be resistant to lacewings. Through the years I had given up on azaleas (except for several Delaware Valley Whites that could not be killed) until began testing Encores. I have had little to no problems with lacewings.

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