Thursday, August 4, 2011

Bloom Day 3, August 4, 2011

What's big, impressive, clump-forming with lots of appeal?  Why Thalictrum 'Lavender Mist', of course.   When lavender mist meadow rue is in bloom, I always ask myself why I don't have more of this stunning plant.  Thalictrum 'Lavender Mist' will produce an impressive backdrop for a natural looking, wildflower garden with its open airy habit.

Helianthus 'Lemon Queen' with 'Lavender Mist'
Planted in part shade in my garden, this meadow rue is over 6 feet tall. Lavender Mist  is more upright, but much airier than other meadow rues. This allows the plant to show off its purplish stalks, and draws the attention to the lavender flowers with yellow anthers. The result is a graceful cloud of misty lavender flowers that never fail to draw attention as it mingles with other flowers.

Lavender mist meadow rue is a very carefree plant not bothered by any insects.  Note to self:  buy more Lavender Mist for next year!

We've all heard of Caryopteris clandonensis, commonly known as blue mist spirea.  But did you know there is a perennial Caryopteris in the family?   Caryopteris divaricata 'Blue Butterflies' is a vigorous plant topping out at over 6 feet; however, the plant can be cut back to layer or keep more compact.  From late July  through October hundreds of small blue-curled flowers resembling blue butterflies will cover the full-sun plant.

Blue Butterflies is another carefree plant that does not seem to be bothered by any insects or deer.  Bees and butterflies are attracted to the flowers and is easily divided in the spring for additional plants.

One of the highlights of a late summer garden is Tricyrtis for- mosana.  Long past when other plants have come and gone, Tricyrtis takes its place center stage with its miniature orchid-like flowers. This is an excellent plant to be used in a shady border or by itself in a more natural setting where it can be seen up close.

Tricyrtis formosana grows best in moist but well drained, humus-rich soil in deep to partial shade. Do not plant in full sun because the leaves will burn. This plant will form a rhizomatous clump over time. Tricyrtis formosana should not be allowed to dry out completely and would benefit from a layer of mulch when dormant.

Now that I've piqued your interest in Tricyrtis formosana, I'll share the plant's common name...toad lily...good thing I didn't tell you that first.  There are a few interesting theories about how the toad lily got its name. One theory is that it was named because the spotted appearance of the flowers was reminiscent of the spots on a toad. Another theory is that the name stems from the reputed practice of a native Philippine tribe of using the juice of the plant while collecting frogs to attract the frogs and make them less slippery when caught.  You decide, but I guarantee you won't get warts from this toad lily.

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