We are thrilled at the performance of the little-known banana, Musa nagesium var. hongii. Our plants are from the recently discovered population in Northeast India, which is a good jaunt from the formerly known populations in Yunnan, China. These sailed through our cold winter, and have exploded in growth during our hot summer. We love the chalky stems, like its close relative, M. cheesmanii. Hopefully, we’ll be able to share these one day. Hardiness Zone 7b-10b.
We have a large collection of silphiums at JLBG, but unfortunately most have limited garden value since they splay apart and often completely fall over when in flower. While they’re loved by native bees, we have been frustrated to not find many that are mainstream garden worthy. One that has been impressive in our trials, however, is the southeast US native whorled rosinweed, Silphium trifoliatum var. latifolium. These 15 year-old clumps at JLBG, which originated from Scott County, Mississippi are now 6-7′ tall, and quite garden worthy. Hardiness Zone 5a-8b, at least.
The Taiwan endemic, Lilium formosanum is just wrapping up its summer floral show in the garden. I’d be hard pressed to imagine a garden without this garden showstopper. The cluster of huge fragrant flowers top the 6-7′ tall, sturdy stalks, starting in early August. We allow a few seed to drop each year, which results in patches scattered around the garden. The fragrance is as sweet as any honeysuckle you can imagine. Soon, you’ll have enough to also fill your home with cut arrangements. Hardiness Zone 6a-10b.
After the flowers fade, the seed pods turn upward, making a classy candelabra that dries atop the stalk for a great winter ornament in the garden or they can also be used in dried arrangements.