|Looking from the patio across Oliver's garden. Byfield, 7 September, 2016|
In one of the borders an interesting and not particularly common perennial from Japan is just coming into flower. This is Kirengeshoma palmata, sometimes called the Waxbell. It is a week or so short of its best but is already looking a fine plant with it primrose yellow flowers, which do indeed have a waxy texture, beginning to open. It is placed in the Hydrangeaceae, although it requires a leap of the imagination to see any resemblance to the common hydrangeas of our gardens. Pronunciation? My first thought was Kiren GE shoma. I rolled it around my mouth and spat it out; it didn't seem right. What about Kirenge SHO ma? This felt better and a check in my book, 'Plant names simplified', confirmed that this was correct. What about the meaning? Wikipedia was unhelpful but a bit of delving in the internet came up with 'yellow lotus blossom hat'. Hmmm. Apparently the seed capsules are extraordinary; 'grotesque' was one description but, in the six years or so that I've known this plant, fruit have failed to appear.