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.