Saturday, June 15, 2013

Trillium Highlights

Saturday, June 15, 2013
A beautiful morning, bright, clear and cold at 41.2°. It feels like September but I know  it's June. I just returned from a second walk with Karl the Wonder Dog and he made it clear that this was a morning to walk, not return to bed.  I'm in agreement with him but I have a lot of things that have to get going today. The last of the shade cloth, torn off the shade houses by the serious storm from two weeks ago tomorrow has to be installed and waiting later that 8 AM means the wind comes up and the job becomes more difficult. I have to get moving!

For some reason many people were interested in trilliums this spring. I am not sure why but maybe it's because I talk about them a lot, maybe because they are difficult to find on the retail market. The velvety burgundy red erectums are gone by now as are most all the white grandiflorums. The woods still have a few undulatums, the white with pinky red centers scattered about although most are gone too. Luteum, the yellow, not native to New England,  is just flowering in one of my old gardens at the house and looks great. Knowing that there are slightly more that 40 trilliums in the world, and knowing that they all come from North America makes me feel good that I have 4 varieties.

Trilliums are not difficult to raise from seed as  long as you have patience. Seed is dispersed in nature by ants so you have to watch seed pods careful because with trillium seed pods it's one of those "here today, gone tomorrow" things with the insects. Each seed has a sweet little coating that ants love to eat and in the process of taking back the "candy" to other ants, they carry the seed along. Seems like unnecessary work but ants are workers and in a million years have never caught on. In the process of overdoing things, they get tired and drop seeds along the way and that's where the dispersal thought comes in.

Keep an eye on trillium seed pods and when mid to late August appears, snap off a soft, almost squooshy pod and then push a finger into the ground a couple inches and put the whole pod in, breaking it apart in the process. Next comes the patience. Seeds take a couple years to germinate and you'll have a neat little clump of seeds that the following fall you can dig and line out. Then the real patience arrives as it will be 5 more years before flowering occurs. Now you know  why they are expensive if you do find a seed source!

Here's a picture of luteum, a nice yellow. A great reference book is Fred and Roberta Case's  Trilliums by Timber Press, 1997. Great info, plenty of pictures.

I hear looms calling at Peacham Pond. They could be suggesting I get to work. Probably not but I should get going. Have a nice day and stop at Vermont Flower Farm if you're out and about!

George Africa
The Vermont Gardener
Vermont Flower Farm
On Facebook as Vermont Flower Farm and Gardens (Like us!) and also as George Africa
On Twitter as vtflowerfarm
Always here to help you grow your green thumb!

No comments: