… I could honestly say that the greatest rewards in my gardening career were witnessed this year! Ironically, for one who doesn’t consider patience to be one of his stronger virtues, one need only examine the length of time I am more than willing to wait in order to be rewarded with the sublime beauty of a single bloom! Already this year I have witnessed the first bloom of Erythronium japonicum, followed shortly thereafter with the forced bloom of Roscoea cautleyoides ‘Kew Beauty’ and the resurrection of the diminutively beguiling Anemonella thalictroides ‘Cameo.’ Gardening life within Teza’s Garden was proving itself to be the best year ever!
Four years ago, while under the employ of Lost Horizons, I was busily tidying the row upon row of plants that made up what I referred to as ‘the shade connoisseur’s hoop house.’ It was here that one found a gluttonous treasure trove of rare and unusual shade perennials ranging from the exotic Asian Arisaema species, to the more unusual plants, one of which immediately caught my eye, if only for its amazing foliage that seemed to possess an almost blue/green sheen. Further investigation revealed its name: Anemonopsis macrophylla. A quick referral to Larry’s infamous catalogue, and I was more than willing to part with close to two hours wages so that I could add this intriguing plant to my ever growing rare and unusual repertoire!
…And the waiting game began! I’d researched the growing requirements and discovered that like me, it truly was a shady character, despising bright afternoon sunlight. It would be happiest as an understory plant where it would thrive in the shadow of other shade loving plants….. and God only knows, if there was anyone who had a plethora of such plants, it was I! It was pure and simple fate that our paths should cross! Planted beneath a stand of Kirengeshoma palmata, I kept a vigilant eye on its progress. S_L_O_W is the only word that comes to mind. Slow as in molasses running uphill to be exact! I worried that slugs would be drawn to its delicate, sumptuous foliage and considered moving it somewhere closer to the house – in the Rare and Unusual Border perhaps, but then worried that it would get lost amongst the towering ferns and Aconitum? What to do, what to do? In the end I left it where it was. I would simply implement a near daily visit to ensure its safety.
It bloomed for the first time last year, but I wasn’t able to witness its fully opened bloom. A severe wind storm broke of its only flowering stem, leaving behind a near perfect pearl shaped bud. But this year…. all hail and rejoice, I have my very first bloom! Its beauty leaves me speechless, so I shall borrow the words of Larry Davidson, plantsman extraordinaire and owner of Lost Horizons, the woodland plant nursery where this diminutive beauty came from: ‘A delicate, Japanese woodlander, with attractive, glossy, dark green foliage. In mid to late summer thin, dark stems are topped with eloquent, cup-shaped,nodding flowers 3 cm (1.25") across. Each flower has waxy, lilac sepals over rows of smaller violet petals.