When I was in design school we had to create a plant portfolio. It was quite a lot of work as there were numerous categories and for each we were to find something like 3 plants and for each plant we were to study and write reports (about 6 pages each), photograph in multiple seasons and generally come to know these plants by heart….a huge effort that took all year.
The idea behind the whole thing was to evolve the plant palette that we would favor as we moved into becoming professional designers. It was through this effort that I discovered one of may all time favorite plants.
image by Illingworth
Kirengeshoma palmata jumped out at me as I turned a corner at Kew Gardens one day. It was tucked between some trees in a wooded area, and compared to the surrounding foliage it was the most lush vivid green I have ever seen. It happen also to be in full bloom (mid to late summer) which meant that it was covered with the most captivating yellow flowers. It is from the flowers that its common name is derived. They are so beautifully waxy, they look like perfectly shaped pads of yummy butter dangling off the plant.
I have started putting it in every garden I can. It is starting to become a bit of a Greayer Design Associates signature plant. I honestly don’t why it isn’t more commonly used.
image by Illingworth
image by Dave on Long Island
I have to get about 4 more – I had 2 and then accidentally weeded one out (I hate when I do that!!), so I now have just one, but I have this corner that I want to just fill with this lovely. Mine is about 20 inches tall right now, but it will get much bigger, and the buds are just starting pop out and beginning to swell until they pop later this summer.
What is your favorite plant that is really under used or under appreciated?
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