Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Checking in on the Trilliums: Fall Color?

In this photo taken July 17, this Trillium is still looking pretty perky for mid-July and another recent spate of punishing heat and heavy rains ... This specimen is slightly to the right of the two depicted below, and has nicely nestled itself among the Leatherwood ferns, ivy and Maidenhairs.

Fernymoss recently decided to revisit the Trilliums, which were the subject of a post I wrote back in May,
and he came back with some decidedly interesting results ... the subject of tonight's post. As you can see, they've changed quite a bit in the ensuing months, but are weathering the recent storms and scorching temperatures fairly well, all things considered. I'm sure most gardeners who have Trilliums really don't expect much from them (if anything) at this point of high summer, or even that they'd still be hanging out somewhat green in the garden. But that's just what ours are doing, still looking very attractive though in a very different way from the way they appear in the spring.
I have to admit that lately, my efforts have been mostly focused on finishing up and weeding the front boulder beds, as well as my herb/tomato/pepper garden behind the house so I haven't really ventured up close to see how the Trilliums have been doing since they quit blooming. (As proof of how distracted I've been lately, I could have just looked out the dining room windows and seen these!) I don't think we've noticed this gradual depigmentation before (or else we just missed it), but they are sure going through some fascinating permutations, no? (Make sure you click through to the larger version to really appreciate that feathery veining they now have.) Of course, it's a sure sign that these plants are winding down for the year, but given that they have stuck around this long (and so green until recently), it looks like they had a good growing season and we hope they'll reward us by bringing even more friends or offspring with them next spring.
This last shot really reveals a lot of detail about their growing situation and the neighbors who share their space ... in the foreground at left, you can see one of the Toad LIlies planted nearby, on the top right is more Toad Lily along with the Leatherwood Fern... If you look closely way down under the plant, you can see the ivy, violets and even moss that makes up the floor of this planting situation. One thing we really like about the apparent symbiosis between the Leatherwood Fern and the Trilliums is that when the Trilliums are taking over the show, the Leatherwood is still emerging and unfurling its fronds, so there's plenty of room for all of them to shine in their own moments. Then in the parts of the season where the Trilliums could really use the shady protection, the Leatherwood serves as a handy canopy to keep them from too much sun.

I'd like to say that we had this all planned out years ago, but it's purely a happy and beneficial quirk of planting. We may have had that idea in mind, but when we go about planting in our Woodland areas, we're mostly concerned about the soil moisture, light conditions and such, and we just thought they'd probably make great companion plants to the ferns. Looks like the hunch has worked out, and we're quite pleased at how it seems to be working out for all of them!

Photos by Fernymoss, taken on July 17, 2008.

We set a record rainfall for the date on Sunday, with all the storms that moved through, some dramatic, others less so, but a lot of rain came down throughout the day and the night. As a result, there's more flooding happening again in lower areas of the city (nowhere near us, happily), but it should just be temporary and nothing like what we experienced in June. Still, this has been an unusually rainy July here, and as with July storms, they've been pretty dramatic of late (see the video I posted a while back). The garden is looking a bit beaten down, but should recover soon, I think. The good thing is that we haven't had any substantial hail at all this year, so I suppose I just cursed myself and that will be next, lol. Nonetheless, the growing goes on here at Casa IVG. I'll have to post again soon on that "Punkin-Zilla" patch we have going back in the veggie end of things ... those plants are sure on a mission, growing right out of the compost! Uh oh ... but then maybe we'll be able to set up a pumpkin stand out front in the fall and sell them, LOL.


Roses and Lilacs said...

Very pretty foliage color. I've never seen them do that before. Do you suppose its the additional rain? My Dad has a big clump of them and his aren't showing that color change.

Shady Gardener said...

I'd not noticed my (two) trillium doing that... but aren't they beautiful??? Fernymoss' photos are great! I really think that second one should be enlarged and framed, don't you??

I heard on the radio the other day that Iowa's rainfall has already exceeded the norm for the calendar year! Interesting.

boran2 said...

Interesting progression from the spring. (Or is it regression?)

I can't wait to see Pumpkinstein!

We've gotten lots of rain here and some rather bad hale last weekend. It actually broke one of my solar lights.

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hi Marnie,
Maybe it is the extra rain, hard to tell, but they're definitely winding down now. How lucky for your Dad to have a big clump! Hopefully we will to in a few years, but the first 3 years have been good for them!

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hi Shady,
Glad you think they're pretty too ... there are so many unappreciated changes over the season, that it's cool to discover them when they happen (such as that Hellebore from a while back).

I hadn't heard that about the rain, but I'm certainly not surprised to learn that. Thanks for passing that tidbit along!

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Lol B2,
You could look at either way, I guess!

I'm hoping to get some pumpkin blooms this weekend if they cooperate, but I wonder if some point we're going to have to whack it back a bit because it really is taking over!

Wow, that must have been some bad hail, sorry to hear you got that. It's just destructive all the way around, and I'm glad we've not had any this year.

Gail said...


After reading your post I ran outside to see what if anything was happening with the trillium...There ia one left standing the rest having empherialized away earlier in the summer. The last man standing has an enormous (forgive me, I have to laugh at what I just typed...) seed pod! This is a first, well that I noticed, but I promise I haven't been peaking!


Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hey Gail,
LOL, on the seed pod! Are yours pale yellow flowers when they bloom? One of ours has a seed pod going as well, but I think the rest have been dispersed.

Did you know that ants play a crucial role in spreading their seeds? Apparently the seeds are covered with some sort of sticky stuff the ants like to eat, so they take them down to their burrows, and eat it all off, which then makes the seeds able to germinate. When I read that I thought how ingenious of them!

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