Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Podophyllum - Mayapples

We grow plenty of good old American native Mayapples in the garden and they are in many places in our woods, but we also grow a couple of different non-native ones. This first one is Podophyllum 'Kaleidoscope'. This is a big bigger than our native Mayapple, being about 2 feet tall with leaves up to 18" wide. Ours isn't quite that large yet, but it seems to increase in size every year. It seemed downright wimpy for the first couple of years, but now in addition to the plants being larger, the clump is increasing in size. Maybe in a couple more years I'll even have some to share. All Mayapples are shade plants and like woodsy soil. This one has a red or burgundy flower in the spring and may set seed and spread that way too. We have them growing with hostas and some other shade perennials. They are still expensive and are patented, so I don't expect to see them readily available any time soon.

Podophyllum 'Spotty Dotty' is similar to the one above, but has a much more patterned leaf, with dark spots. It is about the same size, likes the same conditions, and also has reddish flowers. Both of these are pretty much restricted to zones 6-8, though there have been reports of it surviving a zone 4 winter. Both of these may come up early (too early) and will need to be protected from late frosts. As long as it hasn't come up too much, we put a styrofoam box over them with a brick on top to keep it from blowing away. Makes a wonderful temporary greenhouse.

I'm writing while I'm sitting here waiting for yet more rain to arrive. Depending on which forecast you read, it could be up to an additional 2 inches. We really don't need 2 more inches of rain. I spent the day slipping a sliding in the mud trying to finish getting all of the sale plants in place for opening day. I had mud caked on up to my knees. I guess I'm going to have to find some gravel to spread if we do get this extra rain so everyone who visits the gardens this weekend isn't also caked with mud. Yuck!


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