Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Korean Waxbells

Fall is continuing to creep up on us; the large wetland wildlife preserve just north of us is filling up with coots, black ducks, and cormorants; the woods is filled with blooming, foamy white snakeroot, and the geese, after much practice, are finally getting their formations to look like serious V's.
Here in the garden, the Kirengeshoma koreana is in full bloom. In a week, its smaller cousin, Kirengeshoma palmata will be blooming. The former is also called Korean yellow waxbells, and its flowers do indeed look like they are cast from yellow wax, with hard, thick-substanced petals that later shatter into multiple bright yellow shards that litter the ground around the large plant.
I've seen this plant called "a shrub masquerading as a perennial", and indeed it is large; five foot tall here (where it is in a somewhat dry spot) and said to reach six foot tall when given plenty of water. It seems odd that it likes water so much, for its leaves are rather fuzzy and pale green and stiff; the plant just somehow "looks" like it would be native in dry waste spots. In fact, I'm really not all that keen on the appearance of this plant; it's huge for the size of the flowers, and as mentioned the leaves are kind of dry and drab appearing. Also it seems to end up every year with lots of little holes in the leaves from insects (it's not helped this year by lots of bigger holes from a bad hailstorm in July).
But, the flowers are quite unusual and come at a time when the rest of the garden is starting to slumber. Besides, It's my fault for planting Kirengeshoma koreana in a spot where it's crowding everything else out; it just looked so cute in its little four inch pot that I couldn't envision it someday looking like a semi truck parked at a motorcycle rally. I've been meaning to try and move it to a spot where its size would be an asset rather than a threat, and its got to happen next spring; the other plants in that flower bed are starting to glare at me when I walk by.
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Well... it really is pretty. You seem to be suffering from a bit of a guilt complex when it comes to not having moving the plant earlier. Will you be doing so this Fall? ;-)

By the by, I just posted on the Tricyrtis virus that appeared in one strain of the plants I received this spring. What do YOU think?
Shady... yah, I should have moved it last year. If I can figure out where to put it, I'll try and move it this fall. that tricyrtis virus is a scary thing. I'm waffling on whether to get rid of, for example, Blue Wonder.
Guilt does come into it: the K. palamata is now very rare bordering on the extinct in its original environment, according to the RHS. The roots were exploited for medicinal purposes and in addition the plant suffered habitat loss in China and Japan.

Maybe those gardeners that find it too vigorous could return some to the native habitats ;-)

Mind you, my info dates back a decade, so maybe things have meanwhile been sorted.
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