The Teddington Gardener

Mr Toad

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Tricyrtis macropoda (of the lily family)

The Toad Lilies, so-called because of their spotted flowers, are sound perennials, preferring a soil that does not dry out, and containing a good stint of humus. They do well in the north, but the cooler the district the more sun should be available to them, to hasten their late flowers. In the south they appreciate part shade. They all form elegant clumps of ascending or arching stems, clad with oval, pointed leaves, and bear their flowers in a loose sheaf at the top. They are most intriguingly shaped, slightly cupped with splayed segments, and with a centre that deserves close examination. They are not showy but of considerable beauty.

“…. wried by perversity into an almost Aubrey Beardsley freakishness of outline and heavy waxen texture, freckled and spotted… till their name of Toad Lily is felt to be apt.” Reginald Farrer

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Tricyrtis macropoda

60 x 46cm

2ft x 18 inches. Flowering early autumn (September/October) From the Far East, introduced to British gardens 1868. The flowers are of a creamy white with heavy spotting of mauve or purple. An erect and beautifully poised plant

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Quotes from the invaluable ‘Perennial Garden Plants or The Modern Florilgium’, Graham Stuart Thomas.

I’ve seen this plant growing very happily in the shade of a group of Katsura trees at Scampston in North Yorkshire (these pictures were taken at the RHS Wisley, Surrey). They demand your attention even though they are not especially showy plants. Beautifully poised, exactly.

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