Seeing the green tips of Veratrum californicum pushing through the ground is the first, and most reliable, indication that spring has arrived in my garden. The syneilesis (Shredded Umbrella Plant) are about a week behind and the hosta are still sleeping. As those wide, bright green, pleated leaves unfold I am smitten all over again.
The first time I spotted that foliage was during a visit to Gossler Farms back in 2009 (photo from that visit below). I was infatuated and thankfully left with a name, my search finally ended at Portland Nursery about a year later.
Mine bloomed in 2012.
But couldn't manage to stay upright.
Nothing quite compared me for seeing this plant growing in the wild around Crater Lake. It was a definite "wow" moment.
My friend Peter, The Outlaw Gardener, recently shared photos of Veratrum californicum as part of his Foliage Follow-up post on the 16th, he included lots of fascinating information about the "dark-side" of this plant.
The stats from a gardening perspective...
- perennial growing in USDA Zones 4a-9b
- said to prefer sunny locations although for some reason I planted mine in the shade and it seems to be doing fine.
- 3-6ft tall - although I imagine 3 is the plant and 6 is the bloom
Veratrum is nothing short of spectacular, and earns it's keep solely based on those leaves. However it does fade as the summer's heat approaches, that's fine for me because that's when it's neighbors step up to steal the show.
What's looking good in your garden this last week of March?
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