Today in the Garden


Tricyrtis hirta, the toad lily is a Japanese species of hardy perennial in the lily family.   Tricyrtis hirta is found growing on shaded rocky cliffs and stream banks in central and southern Japan.

Its unique showy flowers bloom in late August through September, and produces multiple clusters of flowers.  Flowers are small, lily-like flowers about 1 inch long with six showy tepals.  It’s easily grown in average, medium to wet, well-drained soils in part to full shade.  The plant is 15-24 inches high and wide.  Bees loved it!

USDA Hardiness Zones 4-8.

Submitted by: Carlotta Lucas




Beware of Giant Hogweed!

If Only it Were Science Fiction!
By Josie Goodenow, Bee Chairman
Taken from the WACONIAH Newsletter- August 2018

CBS has confirmed there is a new threat to America. But, it doesn’t come in the form of criminal aliens, terrorists, or warfare. The latest danger can be found growing in backyards and neighborhoods.

The name of the botanical menace is Giant Hogweed, Heracleum mantegazzianum, and it is creating a giant headache for some of the people in Clark County, Virginia. The plant can cause “third-degree burns and even blindness.” Residents should contact authorities if they think they spot one… the danger is very real. Researchers at the Massey Herbarium at Virginia Tech have found no less than 30 of the ominous plants. The weed is related, oddly enough, to the carrot, one of the best foods for humankind’s healthy eyesight. Yet, unlike a carrot, these monstrosities can grow to a towering 14 feet in height. The leaves alone can be two feet in diameter and are often crowned with large, inviting white flowers on top. The crowns make a rather eye-pleasing umbrella shape, and they “look similar to Queen Anne’s Lace” but are far “chunkier.

For obvious reasons, those at Virginia Tech are asking anyone who sees one to report it and to NOT touch it. The worrisome weed has been known to sprout up in “New

York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Maryland, Oregon, Washington,Michigan, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine,” so it is not isolated this year. The reason for the astute caution?

Experts warn that the “sap contains toxic chemicals known as photosensitizing furanocoumarins.” This chemical compound makes anyone who comes in contact with the plant very, very vulnerable to light. “Black, painful blisters” can develop, and they leave scars on the body in many cases.hogweed burns

In the worst cases, a person who touches the plant can develop light sensitivity for the rest of their lives. If the sap gets into a person’s eyes, perhaps by the rubbing of the eyes, blindness results. All of this has led The New York State Department of Health to issue some guidelines. Those who do, by curiosity or error, touch the plant, are to use cold water to remove the threat and avoid sunlight. Also, seeking medical help is STRONGLY suggested since a “toxic reaction can begin as soon as 15 minutes after contact.”

For those “stuck outside,” sunscreen is advised when dealing with the effects of this unsettling plant. Compresses “soaked in an aluminum acetate mixture” can offer some help to people dealing with skin irritation, an almost certainty when coming in contact with Giant Hogweed. As for saving one’s sight if the sap gets in, a person’s eyes need to be rinsed with water, sunglasses should be worn, and a health professional contacted ASAP.

Birds and waterways spread the dreadful plant, and New York health officials have said, “to not mow, cut or weed whack the plant, as it will just send up new growth and put you at risk for being exposed to sap — the same kind of thing that would happen with poison ivy or sumac. Seek advice from professional plant control specialists about management options.”  They added, “If you must touch giant hogweed, wear disposable rubber gloves, a long-sleeved shirt, and pants. If you get sap on your clothes, carefully remove the clothing to avoid skin and eye contact and wash separately from other clothing with warm water and detergent.”

So, as rats and bedbugs make an epic comeback, as the Black Death and Ebola loom in the wings, Giant Hogweed is reaching up from the ground to blind everyone.
If ONLY it were science fiction!
Oregon Giant Hogweed Alert:

Seattle, WA – Noxious Weed Alert!
Giant hogweed, a Class A noxious weed, is a toxic perennial that reaches 15 feet tall and often grows in urban areas, such as yards and empty lots. In sun, sap that contacts skin can cause severe blisters and even scars. Stems have reddish-purple bumps and stiff white hairs. Leaves are deeply incised and 3-5 feet wide, with hairy leaf ribs but hairless leaf undersides. Mid-May to July, produces 2-foot-wide umbrella-shaped clusters of small white flowers that go to seed in July. Reproduces by seed.  Because of the risk of injury when handling this plant and the difficulty of distinguishing it from the native plant cow parsnip, we recommend contacting the noxious weed program for a positive identification and advice on control methods before removing.

Horticulture Report: Helichrysum petiolare

Plant Name:  Helichrysum petiolarelicorice-plant1.jpg
Common name:  Licorice plant
Plant type: Annual
(Tender Perennial Zones 9-11)

Height: 6-9 inches
Spread: 1-3 ft
Bloom: White, but Insignificant
Exposure: Full Sun – Part Shade
Soil Requirements:  Average
Water Needs: Dry to medium
Attributes:   Dense trailing silvery leaves, Tolerates poor soil & drought
Notes: Good drainage is a must!
Uses:  Annual, Hanging Baskets, Containers, Rock walls, Annual ground-cover
Native to: Southern Africa
USDA Hardiness Zone: 9-11

Horticulture Report: Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’

Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’
Common Name: montbretia
Type: Perennial Bulb
Height: 2-4 feet
Spread: 1-2 feet
Bloom Time: June to August
Bloom Description: Scarlet red
Sun: Full sun -Part shade
Water: Medium amount, but regular watering
Maintenance: Medium
Attributes: Showy Flowers, Attracts Butterflies & Hummingbirds, Deer Resistant,
Use: Cut Garden, Mass plantings, Pool-side planting, Borders, Containers, Contemporary Garden, Cottage Garden, Hummingbird Gardens.
USDA Zone: 5-9

Horticulture Report: Cotoneaster salicifolius

Plant Name:  Cotoneaster salicifolius

Common name:  Willow-leaf cotoneaster
Plant type: Broadleaf  Evergreen shrub
Height:  6-8 ft
Width:   6-10 ft
Bloom Time:  May
Flower Color:  Small White
Exposure: Full Sun to Part Shade
Soil Requirements: Well-drained Sandy Loam
Water Needs: Average, tolerates drought       
Attributes:  Non-edible Showy Red Berries in Winter, Arching Habit with open branches, Bird-friendly. 
Uses:  Border, Specimen, Background plant, Bank Cover, Group/Mass Plantings, Hedge, Year-round Interest.
Note: In hot areas part sun is best.
Native to: Western China & Northern India  
USDA Hardiness Zone: 6-8

Low-growing varieties:

Cotoneaster salicifolius ‘Repens’:  Low-growing form. Can use as a groundcover. Covered in red pomes fruits in the fall.  Semi-evergreen in severe winter areas. ‘Green Carpet’ is very similar in habit.

Cotoneaster salicifolius ‘Scarlet Leader’ – Prostrate form creates a mat-like low ground cover only 2-3′ tall but spreads 8- 10′. Foliage is glossy & disease-free. Leaves can have purple hue in winter.  Produces abundant scarlet berries in the winter.