WAS Symplocarpus...but speaking of Aroids

James Waddick jwaddick@kc.rr.com
Sun, 07 Apr 2013 21:33:30 PDT
Dear PBS,
	We have suddenly had a couple warm days and aroids are seriously popping up.

	At least 2 or 3 and probably 4 or 5 eventually Helicodiceros musciverus has begun to emerge. A few years back I tried a spare 'tuber' in the ground, it lived, grew and eventually flowered. Along the way I added a few more in a S. W.  facing bank that gets maximum summer heat , sun and drought. I may be on the way to a bouquet (in every sense of that word) of Dead Horse Flowering this year. I do love the foliage and flowers for their sculptural uniqueness. The smell.....that's another thing, but they are planted a couple hundred feet away from the house. (however closer to my neighbor, perhaps I better warn them).

	And Dracunculus vulgaris in 5 spots around the garden - some with plain green leaves, some with silver chevron patterns all blooming size clumps. Another great plant of unexpected hardiness. I would love to get the white flowered form established.

	And Arum in number.  Seven or eight species. My favorites are 'Chamelon' and A. nigrum. Each has a separate charm.

	Another hardiness surprise for my Zone 5/6 garden is Biarum tenuifolium. Planted as a trial, it has grown happily for years, although I have yet to catch it in flower. A tiny thing that has an annual growth cycle all its own. 

	Pinellia ( 4 species) are yet to appear and my 1 or 2 Arisaema- the former do very nicely, but none are close to their notorious weediness, while the latter are not very happy in my climate. 

	Finally a couple Arisarum are strictly pot subjects. I do like them, but they are just too marginal. I can get a year or two in the garden, but one winter and they are gone. Fine in pots. Same for Typhonium (ex Sauromatum) which does not persist. I do have a single small clump of Amorphophallus konjac that returns every year in a very protected spot that seem just too wet to me, but it keep coming up.

	I do not grow either Symplocarpus or Lysichiton, but I am surprised no one has yet mentioned Calla palustris. This is a very nice and extremely hardy plant. I used to have a fine specimen grown year round in an above ground wash tube. It prospered  and bloomed regularly. It is moderate in size, has attractive white spathes and lovely foliage. In a move, long ago it got neglected dried and died. 

	I may have missed some hardy Aroids and I certainly wish I could grow even more especially Arisaema of which there are ample beauties. I think Ellen H shares my affection for this group, but they are certainly diverse and suited to a wide variety of garden settings. 

	........  and needless to say I consider all of these (and of course Zantedeschia) appropriate "bulbous" topics for this forum.			Best		Jim W. 

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