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Shady Gardens: Late emerging companion to Trilliums?

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Eleven

Eleven
Royal Oak, MI
(Zone 6a)

May 22, 2012
12:12 PM

Post #9133689

My trilliums (luteum and grandiflorum) are currently fading. Does anyone have recommendations for a couple late emerging companion plants for them? Something about knee height? The location is somewhat dry dappled shade beneath a pine and magnolia. Small rhododendrons, Solomen's Seal, Amaerican Mayapples, Bleeding Hearts, and Hostas inhabit the nearby area.

I've considered annuals but would rather not risk damaging the trilliums by digging. Of plants I already have, I'm considering trying Ghost Fern or Toad Lily. Other suggestions would be most welcome!

postmandug

postmandug
Bardstown, KY
(Zone 6a)

May 22, 2012
12:27 PM

Post #9133721

Jack in the Pulpit, heuchera, hellebore (for year round interest).

Doug
happy_macomb
Chevy Chase, MD
(Zone 7a)

May 23, 2012
11:42 AM

Post #9135259

Heuchera and hellebore aren't late to emerge, so I don't think they would do the trick, beautiful though they are.


Balloon flowers are late.

How about Hosta? Some are later than others, but even those that emerge early don't open up right away, so they wouldn't shade your ephemerals before they disappear for the season. I am considering putting Hosta around a bed of winter aconite that is gone by mid-May.

I'd love to hear other suggestions.
Weerobin
Saint Louis, MO
(Zone 6a)

May 24, 2012
4:28 AM

Post #9136243

Hostas are the usual plant used for that strategy - works well.
Some of the astilbe varieties are fairly late blooming. Ligularia & bottle gentian are summer bloomers.
Tricyrtis certainly would work, unless you've got bunnies.
Have you considered some of the shade-loving grasses which carry beautiful foliage all summer long.
Here are a few: #1 hakonechloa All Gold. #2 a white-striped liriope. #3 a golden liriope (PeeDee Ingot) shown next to some mondo grass for contrast.

Thumbnail by Weerobin   Thumbnail by Weerobin   Thumbnail by Weerobin
Click an image for an enlarged view.

postmandug

postmandug
Bardstown, KY
(Zone 6a)

May 24, 2012
7:50 AM

Post #9136434

True but they will be there year round instead!

Eleven

Eleven
Royal Oak, MI
(Zone 6a)

May 24, 2012
10:50 AM

Post #9136681

Happy, funny you should mention hostas. I have a hundred options but cringe at the thought of planting them in a less than hospitable location. This spot usually doesn't get watered much. Across the path, I have False Solomon's Seal and Jack in the Pulpits that come up on their own, so this is more of a fend-for-yourself native/woodland setting. I have Astilbe elsewhere that take a ton of water in my garden, so they won't work.

Do rabbits really bother Toad Lilies? I have one who gorges on lilies and demolishes a few hostas each year but didn't touch my 'Miyazaki' last summer.

Weerobin, I've been looking at the grasses more these days. When do yours begin emerging? Do they come out fast or is there a little leeway on time before they would cover neighbor plants?
happy_macomb
Chevy Chase, MD
(Zone 7a)

May 24, 2012
11:31 AM

Post #9136738

Eleven: Some of the older hostas really don't require much care. They can survive in very rocky and inhospitable soil -- I'm not sure how much water they require, though.
Weerobin
Saint Louis, MO
(Zone 6a)

May 25, 2012
4:33 AM

Post #9137714

Eleven, around my yard, rabbits seem to seek out toad lilies as one of their favorites.
I have to put little cages around them if I hope to see any blooms in the fall.
As for the grasses,they start emerging fairly early spring, but takes 'til mid-may to get full and bushy.
They're full-sized already this year, but it was an early season.
Scattering some caladiums around would also be nice, but I know you were hoping to avoid annuals.

Eleven

Eleven
Royal Oak, MI
(Zone 6a)

June 4, 2012
6:18 PM

Post #9152499

I think I found a winner in the Hardy Begonia, aka Begonia grandis http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/722/

The gardener I got it from said that his usually come up around June 1st, so that sounded perfect for my ephemerals.
I planted the begonia in the middle of the T. cuneatum, some bloodroot in front (should die back come summer), and a row of Japanese Painted ferns behind it all.

I do think I will transplant the toad lilies in the middle of some of the T. grandiflorum, with maybe the Ghost Fern behind both.

Will have to wait and see how they all do together =)
happy_macomb
Chevy Chase, MD
(Zone 7a)

June 4, 2012
9:38 PM

Post #9152758

I love Begonia Grandis, and I have a ton of it. That being said, it isn't terribly well-behaved and will wander where suits it.

Eleven

Eleven
Royal Oak, MI
(Zone 6a)

June 5, 2012
4:28 AM

Post #9152878

I won't mind a wanderer, especially if it does well in the dry shade. This area is pretty haphazard anyway. I only had a bare spot because I removed some weedy ditch lilies to make room for the new trilliums.

postmandug

postmandug
Bardstown, KY
(Zone 6a)

June 5, 2012
4:28 AM

Post #9152879

Yes it is semi-aggressive, but the new shoots are pulled up easily and people love to receive these in pots during our garden tours.

Doug
plantnutz
Austell, GA
(Zone 7a)

June 5, 2012
5:00 AM

Post #9152892

I've never had a bunny problem with the toad lilies, just my hosta and red cardinal plant which I have not been able to grow for the bunnies eating it down to the ground.
happy_macomb
Chevy Chase, MD
(Zone 7a)

June 5, 2012
5:54 AM

Post #9152946

I'm not sure how well Begonia Grandis does in dry shade. In my yard it doesn't flourish in the dry areas.
arfitz
Caldwell, NJ
(Zone 6a)

July 8, 2012
12:07 PM

Post #9197873

epimediums do very well in shade, even dry shade, and the deer don't eat them. they come in many shades and sizes

Eleven

Eleven
Royal Oak, MI
(Zone 6a)

July 8, 2012
2:32 PM

Post #9198013

Thanks, arfitz. I did add a small epi dviision to the site to see how it did in comparison to the Gebonia and Tricyrtris. Will report back next year!

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