Don't be fooled. Inside this thin coating of sweetness is a fiery core of total insanity.

Friday, June 13, 2014

How to Upstage a Blooming Cardiocrinum Giganteum

I used to dabble in community theater when we lived in Massachusetts, and learned during those years about the details that went into stage movement (called blocking), the dangers of being upstaged, how you should never turn your back on the audience, or do anything, however small, to pull the audience's focus at the wrong moment. I sometimes think of the garden as a stage, in which plant placement in the beds is just as important as actor placement on the stage.

I spent an hour or so yesterday at Far Reaches Farm in Port Townsend, in the shade pavilion there, where another plant actually managed to draw my focus away from the swath of blooming Cardiocrinum giganteum. They're pretty fabulous plants, these giant Himalayan lilies.

Blooming Himalayan lily, about ten feet above my head, with last year's dried seedpods

They're impossible to ignore, these lilies with their soaring, wonderfully scented flowers, and their large shiny leaves. They're one of the first things you see at this time of year when you walk in to the shade pavilion at Far Reaches.

But, hard as it is believe, another plant drew my attention.

So, which one of the many great plants at Far Reaches was it?

Meconopsis (Hensol's Violet, probably)?

Nomocharis pardanthina?

Primula bulleyana?

These cool peony seedpods?

No, none of those. I do love how many of the plants at Far Reaches have more than one season of interest, though, like those peonies with their cool seedpods.
This feathery scarlet lily?

Dactylhoriza fuchsii?

This delicate apricot Primula, blooming amidst a swath of skunk cabbage?


It was this. Maianthemum oleraceum. With its in-your-face panicles of lavender flowers, hanging over the path right at eye level. Such a fantastic plant.

The Maianthemum's dark legs remind me of black bamboo

Even my camera didn't want to focus on the Cardiocrinum. That's the Maianthemum in the background.
Yup, totally upstaging every one of those blooming Himalayan lilies.