As I walk around the garden observing what is taking place, I realise that at this time of the year it would be a good idea to walk twice a day as so many things are happening at a fairly fast rate.
Trilliums are usually spoken about with a sense of reverence, if I can explain it that way. Suited to a humus rich leaf-mould soil, their underground rhizomes establish slowly. As the first three letters of the word ‘trillium’ suggest, there are three parts to the flower and three parts to the leaf. They like cool conditions so make excellent ground cover plants for woodland situations, or, in smaller gardens where these conditions are met.
Some of the varieties include Trillium sessile, T. chloropetalum, T. grandiflorum and T.ovatum. Wood lilies, as trilliums are often known, come mainly from North America, with some coming from Japan across to the Himalayas. We grow the diminutive Trilium rivale in one of our alpine troughs. T. rivale is very similar to T. nivale.
Whilst division is usually made in the dormant season, trilliums can be moved immediately after flowering, like snowdrops.
As trilliums are very slow to spread they can be left for years, with the only consideration being given to them, apart from the right growing conditions, is when they start to appear through the ground’s surface. As the trillium snouts start to push through the ground, we mark them with a small cane as it is so easy to step on them, and “crunch,” the trillium is lost for a year.
Three lesser known trilliums are mentioned in the Swedish plantsman Peter Korn’s book, “Giving Plants What They Need.” They are T. hibbersonii, T. kurabayashii and T. tschonoskii.
Another attraction of trilliums is their leaves, particularly the red flowering varieties with their marbled leaves.
Another woodland plant which is establishing itself well and which I enjoy very much is Tiarella wherryi, the foam flower. There are many varieties of tiarella, but this is one that I particularly like with its maple shaped leaf, and the dainty clusters of white flowers tinged with soft pink on short erect stems. Like trilliums, this tiarella is slow to spread and likes moist conditions.
Writing of these two plants leads me to mention two books which I find most useful. “The Smaller Perennials” by Jack Elliott, a past Chairman of the Hardy Plant Society in England, was given to me by my friend, the late Jane Sterndale-Bennet, herself a past Chairperson of the British HPS.
“The New Shade Garden” by Ken Druse was given to me by Marilyn, our recipe Queen. Ken has written nineteen books over the past twenty five years and gardens in New Jersey. His book explores the ways of creating a lush oasis in these times of climate change.
Photo 1: Taken in our garden one week ago. M. Long
Photo 2: Pterocarya rhoifolia, the Japanese wing nut tree, taken in the Edinburgh Botanic Gardens in early August. M. Long
Photo 3: A street in the beautiful old French town of Dinan in Brittany, France. M. Long
Photo 4: A view of half timbered buildings in Dinan. M. Long
A friend gave me a copy of “Monet’s Cookery Notebooks” written by Claire Joyes, on condition that when he came to stay with us in France, I would cook a meal from the book. First published in 1989, this book results from years of research by the author, selecting Monet’s favourite recipes. It was made possible by the fact that Claude Monet’s cookery notebooks had been published. Here is one of Monet’s recipes that you might like to try.
Pork Chops Foyot
- 125g unsalted butter
- 50g dry breadcrumbs
- 4 onions, thinly sliced
- 50g grated parmesan cheese
- 4 pork chops
- 125ml dry white wine
- ½ tsp salt
- 1’2 tsp pepper
- 4 lemon wedges
Melt half the butter in a fry pan and fry the onions until softened but not browned. Preheat oven to 170 degrees. Place pork chops in a shallow, buttered ovenproof dish. Pile the onions on top, then sprinkle with breadcrumbs and grated cheese. Pour the white wine into the bottom of the dish. Cut the rest of the butter into pieces and dot them over the mixture. Season. Bake the chops for 45 minutes, or until the tops are golden. Serve garnished with lemon wedges.
Our relaxed country garden started twenty nine years ago. In the early days I had very little gardening experience and no vision for the site, but an interest in plants was quickly developing. Over the years, with much trial and error, a garden has emerged which we and our visitors do enjoy.
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139 Old Tai Tapu Rd, Christchurch 8025, New Zealand
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