Archive for Arisaema

The Weird and the Wonderful

Posted in garden to visit, Shade Perennials with tags , , , , on July 5, 2011 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a retail nursery located in Bryn Mawr, PA, specializing in showy, colorful, and unusual plants for shade.  The only plants that we ship are snowdrops and miniature hostas.  For catalogues and announcements of events, please send your full name, location, and phone number (for back up use only) to  Click here to get to the home page of our website for catalogues and information about our nursery and to subscribe to our blog.

The flowers of Farges’s cobra lily (Asian jack-in-the-pulpit), Arisaema fargesii, are spectacular.

Our recent trip to North Carolina for my son’s college graduation (see North Carolina and Duke Gardens) included a visit to Plant Delights Nursery just south of Raleigh.  Plant Delights is a mail order nursery started in 1988 and specializing in new and rare perennials, including many shade plants like jack-in-the-pulpits, wild ginger, mayapples, and toad-lilies.  The sales area is quite large and well laid out and, of course, purchases were made.  But the real reason I visited was to spend time in what Plant Delights calls the Juniper Level Botanic Gardens, a five acre display garden featuring the weird and wonderful plants they sell plus additional plants that are being trialed.

Golden variegated bush ivy, x Fatshedera lizei ‘Annemieke’, which I have never seen before, evidently resulted from a cross between a houseplant and ivy (not hardy in zone 6 unfortunately).

Michael and I spent over two hours in the shade section of the gardens (we never made it to the sunny side) admiring and photographing all the amazing plants displayed there.  I have to thank Michael who was by my side the whole time viewing (with suitable comments) every plant I pointed out and patiently recording the botanical name of every plant I photographed.  He even pointed out some of his own and never said don’t you think we should be going.  That’s dedication.

This lacecap hydrangea, H. serrata ‘Burgundy Edge’, was growing literally in the dark.

I love jack-in-the-pulpits, both native and Asian, and Plant Delights must have the best collection in the U.S.  Here are some of my favorites:

I didn’t realize that there were variegated forms of our native jack-in-the-pulpit, Arisaema triphyllum, but I saw two at Plant Delights: ‘Black Jack’ above and a white variegated cultivar called ‘Starburst’.

Taiwan cobra lily, Arisaema taiwanense

Jack-in-the-pulpit cross, Arisaema formosanum x consanguineum

Pinellia tripartita ‘Atropurpurea’


Arisaema thunbergii

Arisaema thunbergii ‘Wakayama’

Farges’s cobra lily, Arisaema fargesii, a close up of the flower appears at the beginning of the article.

The leaves of Japanese cobra lily, Arisaema ringens, are immense.

Here is Michael standing next to Arisaema ringens for scale.

I can’t imagine that Plant Delights’ collection of another of my favorites, mayapples, Podophyllum sp., can be surpassed:

Chinese mayapple, Podophyllum delavayi

Chinese mayapple, Podophyllum versipelle

I had never seen the flowers of Podophyllum ‘Spotty Dotty’.

Chinese mayapple, Podophyllum pleianthum

Chinese mayapple, Podophyllum difforme, looks like it should be growing on Mars.

Plant Delights also has a comprehensive collection of wild gingers:

I wish my ‘Galaxy’ wild ginger, Asarum takaoi ‘Galaxy’, would grow like this.

Asarum takaoi ‘Sekkyo’

Asarum kumageanum

The flower of Asarum nobilissimum

Asarum maximum ‘Shell Shocked’

I found a number of other weird and wonderful shade plants that I would like to add to my gardens:

Barrenwort, Epimedium fargesii

Toad-lily, Tricyrtis ‘Lunar Eclipse’

Very rare Paris species labeled “Wavy Leaf”

Native bloodroot, Sanguinaria canadensis “Deep Lobes”

Rosa ‘Verdun’ was covered with flowers in full shade.

Toad-lily, Tricyrtis ‘Lemon Twist’

I was finally able to purchase a shredded umbrella plant, Syneilesis aconitifolia, which I have been coveting for years!

If you are in the area, I highly recommend that you visit the Juniper Level Botanic Gardens.  Plant Delights is open eight weekends a year for garden visits.  Their website lists the dates.  If you can’t visit then, you can always make an appointment.


Notes: Click on any photo to enlarge.  Every word that appears in orange on my blog is a link that you can click for more information.  If you want to return to my blog’s homepage to access the sidebar information (catalogues, previous articles, etc.), just click here.

Nursery Happenings:  The nursery is closed until it cools off in the fall around the middle of September.  If you are on my customer email list, look for an email.  If not, sign up by sending an email to with your name and phone number.

%d bloggers like this: