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Stunningly beautiful, these blooms glow like miniature orchids

Photo by Marjorie Harris/Photo by Marjorie Harris

WHY YOU SHOULD PLANT IT

Stunningly beautiful, toad lily blooms glow like miniature orchids on long, elegant stems sporting deep green foliage. The best of the exotic autumn plants available to Canadians, it encompasses 20 species and many varieties, clumps with insouciance and displays no problems I've ever seen.

WHERE TO PLANT IT

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This is the ideal shade to semi-shade plant. It makes a strong clump that needs rich, moist soil. Since it disappears during the winter, make sure that you don't crowd it too much because it gets as wide as it is tall (about 60 centimetres) and there's no point in hiding it away. You have to be able to see it well.

WHAT IT OFFERS

A strong autumn profile with just enough colour to draw the viewer toward it. Many new varieties have gold or variegated foliage, while the blooms range from pale white through to the heady purple spottiness pictured here. And they will last for at least three weeks, lasting to mid-September. You can pair it up with some of the splendid new Carexes (such as 'Silver Sceptre') or smallish hostas that won't hog all the attention. (These beauties will take over when the boring old hosta blooms have gone. And like hosta blooms, they make a spectacular cut flower.)

SOURCE AND COST

Toad lily is available at most

good nurseries for up to $15.

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