Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Terrific Trillium

Trillium grandiflora popping through euonymus.
I have been having a love affair with trillium for decades. Like lady slippers, these elusive woodland plants are scarce and protected where we live in Massachusetts.

While I have happened upon many of the pink hued lady's slippers native to this area in boggy woodland settings, I have never seen trillium growing in the wild but I have seen them in public botanical gardens, at rare plant sales, and in books of wildflowers.

Four years ago we purchased our first trillium at a plant sale sponsored by the Trustees of the Reservation. At the "members only" preview, a handful of Trillium grandiflora obtained from a Connecticut grower was available and I was able to purchase three. We lost one the first winter, but they have gotten larger each year and last year they bloomed for the first time. Just this week they are blooming again.

We have purchased many varieties of trillium and lady's slippers from Frank Moro's Select Plus Lilacs in Quebec. We first met Frank and his family at the Boston Flower Show several years ago, In addition to the lilacs they are famous for, we have obtained trillium, lady's slippers, and one of the first yellow peonies ever offered from the Moros as well.

Our first Moro trillium arrived in the spring of 2008 as roots with eye buds. We planted more than a dozen but saw very little in the way of growth and the spring of 2009 was likewise disappointing, I thought that we'd probably lost most of them in the extreme winter flooding we'd experienced that year. We were hard pressed to identify more than a scant few of the characteristic tri-leafed plants.

Last spring we were excited to find several varieties of trillium popping up throughout the tree grove and this year they have thrilled us with burgundy, gold, and coppery orange blooms. Here is a sampling of some of the beautiful blossoms.

These Trillium kurabayashii are at least 8 inches tall and as wide.
An isolated plant that has been slow to share it's bloom. I'm anxious to verify its identity

Trillium kurabayashii

Another trillium awaiting blossoms that can help identify the cultivar.
Trillium kurabayashii
Trillium kurabayashii
Trillium cuneatum "Orange"
Trillium grandiflorum

Trillium luteum

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