May 17, 2013

Epic Trillium at the Garden in the Woods

Yes, that's nurserydude and author Joseph Tychonievich admiring the awesome stock beds of trillium
at the New England Wild Flower Society's Garden in the Woods, in Framingham, Massachusetts
There are days in May when everything comes together like kismet, bright sunshine, blue skies, warm temperatures, migrating warblers, and woodland wildflowers. Today, my good friend Joseph Tychonievich ( from Arrowhead Alpines) visited me, and we spent the day touring my lousy garden, then lunch and a visit to the Garden in the Woods, in Framingham, Massachusetts. Run by the New England Wildflower Society this renowned botanic garden is special enough, but never so special as it is in mid-spring, when the trillium species bloom. Joseph and I could not have planned a more perfect day to hike the trails, and to visit the propagation beds ( where were you Dan Jaffe?! I know, we should have called first). These trillium beds show the fine work of propagator, Dan Jaffe.). Mr. Jaffe was probably resting while his trillium beds bloomed their butts. We stopped to take some photos of the many trillium species, and to catch a few birds - a Rose Breasted Grosbeak and a Baltimore Oriole sang high in the oak canopy.

Trillium grandiflorum in massive clumps.
 Joseph's new book which I will be reviewing soon ( as soon as I get on from his publisher) PLANT BREEDING FOR THE HOME GARDENER (2013 Timber Press)sounds more than terrific, it sounds practical and even fun, as just talking about it with Joseph had inspired me want to go try some plant breeding again - something I do every now and then, but not nearly at the level that Joseph does. I hear the book is selling out fast, so be sure to try and order one before it goes into a second edition.

Raising your own varieties from seed has many benefits, and as Joseph and I chatted, I soon realized that we both shared a lot of the same concerns about growth regulators used on annuals and most commercial crops ( most every thing at big box stores) and how this limits performance in the home garden significantly ( it's why many annuals that we buy in-bloom in six packs, fail once planted into our own gardens. Joseph's book will show you step-by-step how to try your own hand at crossing your own annuals and veggies, and even how to develop some of your very own original varieties and selections. Even if you are interested in saving your own seed, this book will be essential. Go find one now!

Back to the trillium species at Garden in the Woods - the stock beds reminded both of us why we want to continue starting our own trillium from seed, yet we joked at the time involved ( sometimes taking more than 5 years to bloom from seed) and we shared hints and secrets about Gibberelic acid, sowing fresh or green seed, and division as alternate methods. Joseph's nursery carries and impressive selection of trillium species ( as well as many other native woodland plants from North America), but it's always fun to see how other people are growing them. One rarely sees any trillium in such numbers, it's a precious and rare site for any garden or plant enthusiast.

Trillium recurvatum

A sessile Trillium cuneatum v. lutea
Trillium cuneatum

Bothe Joseph and I were overwhelmed by some of the selections in the raised stock beds. Clearly, Dan has been doing some creative work here.

Trillium rugelii, one of the nodding trilliums - this one is actually the Southern Nodding Trillium

Trillium flexipes

Trillium grandiflorum cv. multiplex, the double white Wakerobin, or double trillium.

Gotta love my fav, Arisaema thunbergii ssp urashima ( I think, just guessing here, but it is my favorite and I get to see it so rarely). Love those little 'mouse tails' emerging from the spadix.


  1. I've never been to Garden in the Woods or met Joseph face to face: looks like you had the best of both worlds. Trillium time in the Northeast is awesome (I remember from my time in Ithaca): and you are obviously having a banner spring. Simply heavenly!

  2. A double trillium - What?!? Must have!


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