With more treasures emerging each day, the ever-evolving character of the Terry Shane Teaching Garden has been a joy to observe this spring. I’m struck by the special moments this garden produces throughout the year, especially this time of the year. New combinations of colors, textures, and shapes are always taking shape, keeping the composition exciting and uniquely memorable with each changing week. Now teeming with freshly emergent herbaceous plants, this section of the Arboretum is a must-see botanical delight. Perennials exhibiting both attractive foliage and charming flowers mingle with an impressive collection of spring flowering ephemeral, bulbs, shrubs and trees.
One of my personal favorites springing to life recently in the Terry Shane Teaching Garden is Saruma henryi, commonly known as upright wild ginger. S. henryi makes a charming addition to any shade garden, offering heart-shaped foliage and cheery yellow spring blooms. The young leaves of S. henryi are densely pubescent, giving a subtle silvery appearance to the foliage. The foliage remains attractive throughout the growing season; this plant is tidy and well behaved in the garden, reaching a height and spread of about 2’.
The three-petaled flowers of S. henryi primarily occur in April- May, but also appear sporadically throughout the growing season. This plant can be repeated in informal patches throughout a shade garden and is an ideal fit for a woodland setting, where it will slowly form clumps and spread. In its native environment of Central China, S. henryi thrives in shaded valleys and along stream banks.
The heart shaped foliage of S. henryi closely resembles other wild ginger plants (Asarum spp.); note that Saruma is an anagram of Asarum – and Dutchman’s pipe vine, (Aristolochia spp.) namesake of the Aristolochiaceae family to which both Asarum and Saruma belong. A noteworthy combination on display presently includes another heart-shaped, shade-loving, and spring flowering beauty: Brunnera macrophylla (Siberian bugloss), whose dainty blue booms make a great compliment to the larger yellow S. henryi flowers.