Archive for July 3rd, 2010

Astilboides and I

RailGuy and astilboides tabularis

You always remember the first time. It happened at Lost Horizons. I had crossed the little foot bridge and started down the garden path. Just as I rounded the first bend, there he was. Astilboides tabularis. It was love at first sight! The nice thing about Lost Horizons is that, when you find that plant you just have to have, you can buy it there. I went home with a little astilboides seated next to me.

I settled Baby Astilboides into a shady corner of my garden and doted on him. He grew well and when the winter came, was nestled under a blanket of snow. I watched and waited anxiously the next spring. He was slow to wake. Finally, after spring’s false starts had passed, there he was, a hard little curled sprout nudging through the still-cool soil.

Sadly, I had to leave Baby Astilboides behind when I moved to Willow House. I was pleased, therefore to find another astilboides already here. This astilboides is probably about 8 years old, I think. He has never achieved the huge size of the Reford Gardens plant shown in the opening photograph. It’s true that he has had a hard life, struggling with plentiful weeds that would thrust him out of the garden. Perhaps he would like a little richer soil? A little more sun? Or a little more moisture? It’s hard to say exactly why he hasn’t reached a giant size, but he has nevertheless soldiered on admirably with no attention, clearly a sturdy individual. And that’s not to say he is puny, no. His leaves are a good 12 inches across, still pretty impressive and satisfying. I have his rude bedmates removed now, and he can spread his roots comfortably. It’s a pleasure to see him every day.

RailGuy and the Willow House astilboides

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The first two weeks of July mark the zenith of the daylily season. The plants that were on the cusp of blooming when I left for vacation were in bloom by the time I returned five days later. Daylilies (hemerocallis) are straight-forward plants. Not for them the fussing and fretting of garden prima donnas. Although they prefer full sun and moderate moisture, they will bloom, albeit on a less flamboyant scale, in shade or in drought, in good soil or poor. They are quite pest-free. Unlike the old species daylily from which they were developed (sometimes called the Ditch Lily or Orange Daylily), modern hybrids don’t spread rambunctiously, but form neat clumps. The clumps may need dividing every few years. How quickly they multiply depends on factors such as the quality of the soil and the climate. Here is a selection of photographs of some of the daylilies that are blooming in my garden today.

Prague Spring

Galena Gilt Edge and Helter Skelter

Born Yesterday (This one always reminds me of my three new baby daughters!)

Big Smile

Hurricane Sky and Fencing Master with roses and campanula

Pure and Simple



Seminole Ruby

Helter Skelter

Suzy Wong

Angelic Grin

Geneva Firetruck

Yesterday Memories

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