Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Trillium chloropetalum 'Duane's Strain'

Trillium chloropetalum seedling from one of Duane West's plants

Another Trillium chloropetalum seedling from Duane West's plants

Closeup of flower on seedling from one of Duane West's plants
     It used to be that if one visited Heronswood Nursery in March or April, there were some large trilliums in containers by the checkout stands. These were labeled as display plants of Trillium chloropetalum owned by Duane West, the nursery manager.  They were just about the most beautiful trilliums I have ever seen.  Fortunately, Heronswood offered seedlings of these plants in the nursery and over time I purchased almost 20 of them and they are now growing in my garden.
     When I bought these trilliums they were still tiny seedlings--I don't think they had even developed the characteristic three leaves yet.  The labels indicated that they were from deep red flowered plants, but because they were seedlings, flower color could not be guaranteed.  That was over 10 years ago, and now that all these seedlings have matured and become large flowering clumps, it has become evident that there is some variation in flower color from very dark red, as in the second picture above, to more clear, but still deep, red.  None of the plants I bought turned out to have light pink flowers.  All the plants were beautiful.  They also all had leaf markings of varying degrees--some marked more than others.
     These plants are the earliest trilliums to come up in my garden--they arise even before Trillium 'Volcano' which I wrote about yesterday.  They are also very large and vigorous plants.  I would say they are at least as large as Volcano and at least as vigorous.  In fact, I have concluded that they are slightly better plants than Volcano for the following reasons: first, I think the flowers are slightly larger than those of Volcano, although this is just a guess; second, I like the fact that the flower color varies slightly from plant to plant and that some of those colors are better, in my opinion, than those of Volcano; third, many of these plants have more prominently marked leaves than Volcano;  and finally, these plants freely self sow, which Volcano has not done in my garden, and that is a definite plus. 
     Besides this dark red strain from Duane's plants, there apparently is a lighter pink strain and you can view that strain on the Far Reaches website.  Unfortunately it does not appear that Far Reaches now has that plant in stock, although they do have a number of other good trilliums for sale.

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