One of the highlights of the autumn gardens is a little thing affectionately known as the toad lily (Tricyrtis sp.). Not a very pretty name, but oh what a pretty bloom it has! They remind me of little orchids growing in my shade gardens.
This year, I had one cultivar bloom as early as August, which is not normal, but then there was nothing normal about this year's growing season either. 'Tojen' is still managing to eke out some blooms, but it was in its prime about a month ago.
'Lightning Strike' bloomed for the first time for me. It was planted last year, but didn't show its colors, possibly due to shock from transplanting later in the season. I don't know that the flowers are as stunning as some other Tricyrtises, but I do love the stripey foliage that gives it that perfect name.
The first toad lily I ever planted was 'Sinonome' and I've had it for three summers now. It hasn't really spread much at all, but its speckled blooms still make me smile.
Newest to the garden is 'Miyazaki Hybrids', which I got last year from Bluestone Perennials. It's similar to the other toad lilies and I'm considering combining a couple of my colonies of plants due to their similarities.
When Kim and I were shopping at Petitti's last Saturday, we saw some very nice upright Tricyrtis there and I was very tempted by them, but resisted. Of course, once I got home and saw my own toad lilies blooming, I immediately wished I'd gotten a couple more at Petitti's. But there are always things I want and wish I'd purchased instead of exercising the miniscule amount of will power I conjure up on occasion.
Most toad lilies are hardy to zone 5 and like part or full shade. The longer we live here, the more shade we have, so I always keep my eyes open for plants that thrive in it. Tricyrtis is one of them.