A broken promise

A year ago, I pledged to discontinue additional purchases to increase the collection of toad lilies (Tricyrtis). Recent acquisitions were not significantly different that I could tell, and with all common and reasonably priced varieties already in hand, why should I pay a premium for ones that can hardly be differentiated from ones half the cost? This is not so much a money issue, though I don’t choose to toss money away carelessly (despite what my wife says). I do a poor job marking or remembering what’s what in the garden, so when there are two or more of something so similar I can barely tell them apart, what’s the point?  

Predictably, my promise not to add to the collection was promptly broken by early spring. These were inexpensive ones from a questionable source, but they turned out okay, so I’m not complaining. I suspect, as I’ve seen from similar sources, that several are the same as others I already have, but with a fancy new name. At least I didn’t spend a bundle, and all went into locations where the early autumn blooms will be easily seen.

‘Lightning Strike’ (above), one of the garden’s old timers, languished in a spot that has become far too shaded, so it was split and transplanted in this rainy August. The transplants are floppy, so they won’t make much of a show this year, but if I didn’t break it up and move it I was concerned it could disappear. This is one of several toad lilies with variegated foliage, with one mid-priced newcomer also added this summer when it was offered for a few bucks off (Tricyrtis ‘White Waves’, below )

Finally, I have a yellow flowered toad lily (below). I don’t recall its date of purchase, but I believe this was before my vow to abstain. There should be nothing magical about keeping a yellow toad lily alive. I’ve never had a problem with others, but have lost a handful of yellows. Probably, they were planted in ground that was too moist, but this one is high and dry, and it appears to be doing acceptably well.

I think, possibly, there are fewer toad lily seedlings this year, though that doesn’t mean there are none. Most of these are from the common variety ‘Miyazaki’ (one of many seedlings, below), which is nice enough, though I don’t need dozens. Some seedlings are weeded out and discarded, but occasionally a few are potted for giveaways. More are not potted because I’m neglectful in caring for them, so why waste the effort when I’ll kill them before they find a good home?

While all toad lilies are flowering, most were a bit tardy getting started, I suspect due to a cooler, rainy August. For many, their peak is still a week or two from today, and as usual flowers are expected until the first hard freeze.

7 Comments Add yours

  1. Nora says:

    Wow! What a collection! Very nice!

  2. susurrus says:

    The more the merrier for me. I admired the first variegated one, did a double take on the second, thinking ‘A toad lily? A hosta?’, concluded it was a hosta and was surprised to have to change my mind. The yellow flowered one is very striking and the floriferous ones too.

    1. Dave says:

      The photo looks very much like my old favorite Hosta medio-variegata, but in person the toad lily’s leaves are much smaller. Of course, the flowers are a giveaway.

      1. susurrus says:

        I thought it might have been a flower stem hanging above the hosta until I looked more carefully.

  3. tonytomeo says:

    Ha! Just before reading this, I purchased seed for three species of palm which I have no use for. I got only ten of scrub palm, which I ‘can’ accommodate, but also got a hundred each of king palm and golden cane palm. I will probably send almost all of them to Southern California as they grow.

    1. Dave says:

      The first step in overcoming an addiction is to admit the problem, though it’s likely we don’t want to be cured.

      1. tonytomeo says:

        I would not say it is an addiction for me. I just enjoy it. If did not believe that what I grow would not eventually go to good homes, I would not grow it. It gets overwhelming at times, but eventually works out.

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