Monday, 12 August 2019

Garden surprise!

For the last three weeks I have been puzzled by a plant which has appeared in our front garden. It had no label and so I decided it could be a weed, although our plant labels do have an annoying habit of disappearing. Birds perhaps?


Anyway, today I had my answer. It was Tricyrtis formosana.


The appearance of this toad lily was a surprise. Our garden at Stefen Hill,
Daventry. 12 August, 2019
It was planted last year and, the label having vanished, I had forgotten about it. These curious plants from south-east Asia are known as toad lilies. As can be seen, the petals have spotted leaves spotted like a toad, and this may be the origin of their name - although I am by no means convinced.

The unusual structure of their flowers has seen these plants placed at various times in five different families but for convenience it seems that most botanists place them in the lily family, Liliaceae.

The species is Tricyrtis formosanum, a variable but always attractive plant.

Growing next to the toad lily is a variety of Dianthus alpinus known as 'Joan's Blood'. It is perhaps a little past its best at the moment but is still a lovely plant. I suspect it is in fact a hybrid, but who the parents are I'm not sure.
Dianthus alpinus 'Joan's Blood' with delicately pencilled petals of pale and
 dark mauve stripes. Our garden. 12 August, 2019

I have been growing Eryngium bourgatii in our front garden. Despite it being a native of Morocco, Lebanon and other Mediterranean areas it is perfectly hardy and in fact it has now become too robust and will have to go. Instead I am growing a dwarf form of Eryngium planum called 'Blue Hobbit', a single plant of which I purchased about three years ago.
Eryngium planum 'Blue Hobbit'. It is a delightful plant for the rock
garden. 12 August, 2019

It seems very happy and has produced a few seedlings which are true to the parent, and a satisfying clump has now developed.

Staying with blue flowers, I am also blessed - or cursed - with a patch of Pratia pedunculata (sometimes referred to as Lobelia pedunculata). It is referred to on the RHS website as a 'thug', but what do I see on sale at the RHS gardens at Rosemoor last week? Yes, There it was, Pratia pedunculata.

Pratia pedunculata: avoid it like the plague. Our garden at Stefen Hill,
Daventry. 12 August, 2019
Hailing from Australia it is quite a pretty thing but every few weeks I am out in the front garden grubbing out parts of it.

Lastly Seseli montanum. This member of the carrot family was sold to me as Seseli montanum and although I at first had doubts it appears to have been correctly named. It is a close relative of our very rare native Moon Carrot, Seseli libanotis, which is a more robust plant.


Seseli montanum, from central and southern France. A rarely-grown but
delightful plant. 12 August, 2019
It has delicate feathery foliage, typical umbelliferous flowers and is altogether a very graceful plant. It has steadily grown but has so far failed to produce seedlings. It may be self-sterile.

I also grow the related and very rare British native Bunium bulbocastanum. Known as Great Pignut it too is a graceful plant with deeply dissected leaves giving a feathery appearance but it is now past the flowering stage. I must check the inflorescences for ripe seed.

But now for some weeding!



No comments:

Post a comment