September 2017 Newsletter




Leslie Shields

25 Johnson Avenue,

Plainville, CT 06062




Ellen Bender

25 Lanz Lane

Ellington, CT 06029




Maryanne Gryboski

88 Eager Rd.

Franklin, CT 06254



Corresponding Secretary and

Newsletter Coordinator:

Rose Riley

108 Church Street,

Wethersfield, CT 06109

(860) 721-0547 Rosekriley@sbcglobal.net

Recording Secretary and Membership Director:

Mary Anna Martell

4 Sunnieside Court, Waterford, CT 06385



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Hi Hardy Planters

Hope that this summer was better than last. At least, there was rain.

We’re starting with a bang! The very first meeting will be a plant swap. Check in the meeting descriptions for the details but it should be fun. Think it will be on the porch as it is still likely to be quite warm on the 27th. But that we can play that by ear.

A reminder that the membership year begins in September so you might want to send your dues in to Mary Anna.

Speaking of membership, I have invited all the members of the Connecticut Rock Garden Society to join us. They have been having the problem of too few workers doing too much of the work for too long a time and are shutting down at least in most aspects. I have suggested to them that under HPS structure, they could form a Special Interest Group (SIG) on rock gardening but could operate under our tax-exempt status. If they would rather just join that would be fine also.

We have escaped their dilemma, for now. We would not still be here without the fantastic help of some wonderful women who have really stepped up so that work could be divided among several hand and heads; Ellen Bender, Maryanne Gryboski, Rose Riley, Keri Milne, Tina Knowlton, and Mary Anna Martell. Kathy Simmons also plays a crucial role. This is both a thank you and a request for others to take a more active role.

See you, with your special plant, in September.    



Yellow Waxy Bells, Kirengeshoma palmata (keer-eng-gih-SHOE-muh pal-MAY-ta ), is an unusual woodlander in a couple of ways. Deserving of wider audience this dramatic plant is related to the hydrangea. As with Deinanthe but unlike the shrubby hydrangeas that have probably come to your mind’s eye Kirengeshoma is a herbaceous perennial, dying down to the crown when temperatures grow cold. Yellow Waxy Bells loves open deciduous shade, dappled sun is fine – this placing its culture solidly in the woodland category. One other feature distinguishes it from most woodland denizens; rather than beginning the growing season with flowers this beauty’s climatic glory occurs in late summer and early autumn.

Kirengeshoma palmata

Kirengeshoma palmata is a well-behaved Japanese and Korean woodlander found naturally in mountainous areas. Growing four to five feet tall in an especially moist season it may stretch to six feet. An established clump after settling in happily relishing its woodsy digs will expand to four feet wide but over the course of years may achieve a breadth of six to six and one-half feet. This perennial sports attractive palmate leaves. The maple-like leaves in opposite pairs are set several inches away from the next pair up and down the stems. They are not densely placed. In that this imposing perennial’s multiple stems hold their leaves in open spacing Kirengeshoma exudes a surprisingly soft affect. Stems are glaucous, sturdy and, therefore, staking is not necessary. Some forms sport the added interest of purple-black stems. With all the work required in the proper running of a nursery staking is a time consuming art this gardener has avoided mastering.

The buds appear as two-toned balls on paired axillary stems, the sepals are a darker green, and the clasped ball of petals a luminous, greenish-white. Clustered buds set upon cymes structures. The cymes are well spaced contributing to the overall airiness of this tall perennial. These trend and increase towards the top of the plant. It may be many weeks before the flowers unfurl. The flowers are showy but also very un-hydrangea like. Large pale yellow thick-textured bell-shaped flowers hang in open clusters, the weight of them sometimes just bending the tops of flowering stems adding to the gentle appeal. Each floret measures one to one and one-half inches long in that warm yellow hue that softly glows in the shady realm. They put on quite an endearing show. Every year they grace the garden beginning in late summer and continue to mid-autumn depending, of course, on the cold. Ours have survived light frost succumbing only when temperatures plummet dramatically such that the thought of a wood fire in the woodstove enters ones mind.

Low maintenance is a plus as Kirengeshoma is undemanding. As previously stated plant Kirengeshoma in light shade, dappled shade or with some early morning sun in a woodland setting. Site it in a rich, moisture retenting loam, a woodland soil to which organic matter is a component and you will be rewarded. If planted in an impoverished soil your plant will not respond well. Also, adequate moisture is fundamental. In a too-dry soil or a site that suffers in summer drought Kirengeshoma will languish and weep unhappily and quickly. An organic mulch of small wood chips and / or leaves is beneficial. Yellow Waxy Bells is hardy in USDA zone 5 through 8. I would caution more cool shade in the southern end of its range with the need for constantly moist soil even more crucial.

A closely related cousin is Kirengeshoma koreana. Also late blooming it less commonly found in the trade but having grown both K. palmata would be my personal choice if forced to choose between the two.

Flowering partners for this unusual hydrangea relative in your garden could be Sanguisorba canadensis, Sanguisorba officinalis ‘Lemon Splash’, green and purple-leaved Cimicifuga (now clustered with the Actaea), and all late-season Monkshood, (Aconitum sps.) and large ferns. Any among the middle-sized to mammoth hostas and Rodgersia would also be worthy and bold companions.

For gardeners wanting something different well-behaved Kirengeshoma palmata would be a smart choice. Flowering late it fills void in the shade garden near the end of the season. It’s low maintenance, undemanding and handsome. It provides late season nectar for the bees who are, indeed, drawn to it. Hardy to zone 5, it can be grown virtually throughout the region. Put this uncommon perennial, a fantastic herbaceous hydrangea relative on your wish list. Dig in. Have fun. You won’t be sorry.

Wayne Paquette


March 14, 2015

Keep These dates open:

Meeting Dates for Fall 2017 – Spring 2018

September 27, 2017 – Plant Swap

October 25, 2017 – Dr. Richard Benfield Thieves, Charlatans, and Crooks: The Wild and Wonderful World of Plant Origins

November 15, 2017 -Tom Linden – Why Put that There?

December 6, 2017 – Matt Mattus – Festive Plants of the Past

January 24, 2018 – Russell Stafford – Bulbs for Different Habitats

February 21, 2018 – Margery Winters – Spring Wildflowers

March 3, 2018 – Symposium

10:30 AM Bill Cullina – What Do You Mean I’m Not a Perennial! ? ! – Native Shrubs and Small Trees for Perennial Companionship

1:00 PM Warren Leach, Tranquil Lake Nursery Topic to be determined. . .

March 28, 2018 – Lisa and Kyle Turoczi (Earth Tones) – Rain Gardens

April 25, 2018 – Nancy Ballek McKinnon – Hardy Plants for Shade

May 23, 2018 – Speaker to be determined

June 30, 2018 – Picnic, location to be determined


September 27, 2017 – Members’ Treasured Plants – Show, Tell, Swap

What are the treasured plants growing in members’ gardens?

Bring a division of one of your choice plants, treasured for foliage or flower, rarity, unusual time of bloom, or whatever the reason that makes it special and desirable to you. Be prepared to spend a minute or two describing its needs for moisture and light, its season of bloom and its growth habit. Do pollinators love it? Must it be protected from wild critters? Bring a photo of it if you have one. Give us all the inside info on what makes it special and why we should want it. After all plants have been glorified and their virtues extolled, members who brought a plant in will have the opportunity to take one home.
The meeting is for all members interested in learning about what their cohorts are growing and perhaps discovering something new or rediscovering a plant forgotten. If you bring a plant, please limit it to one species although you may bring multiple divisions of it. Coming empty-handed is okay, too, but remember that those who bring a plant are guaranteed to take one home. We expect the “Show and Tell” to be interesting and educational and “The Swap” to be a bit frenzied and fun!

October 25, 2017 – Dr. Richard Benfield

Thieves, Charlatans, and Crooks: The Wild and Wonderful World of Plant Origins

How did those amazing plants from all over the world get into our gardens? Someone had to find them, bring them back and cultivate them. Recently that has been done by great plantsmen like Dan Hinkley but in the past the collectors were a bit more coloful. Come and learn about the daring do.

Dr. Richard W. Benfield is Professor of Geography at Central Connecticut State University in New Britain, Connecticut, where among his other duties he teaches courses in tourism, particularly in connection with culture and conservation.

In 2013, his book, Garden Tourism, was published by CABI Press, Abingdon, England

November 15, 2017 – Tom Linden

Why Put that There?

Tom Linden has been practicing Landscape Architecture in Connecticut for 30 years. Mainly working in the municipal and educational sectors, he has also provided professional services for commercial, housing, parks , playgrounds and athletic facility projects. He opened his own firm in 2010.

As a landscape architect, sensitivity to environmental concerns are a part of Tom’s everyday design process, whether the project is a 400-car parking lot or the creation of wetlands adjacent to new athletics fields. The role of the landscape architect encompasses everything from plantings and site amenities through grading, pavement design and utilities. Hopefully, at this day’s presentation you will gain an understanding of how we approach the design process focusing on plantings, and what we can learn form each other.

December 6, 2017 – Matt Mattus

Festive Plants of the Past

Matt will discuss heirloom and old fashioned holiday plants and displays from hellebores, to winter chrysanthemums in conservatories, to long lost arts like berry bowls, the first forcing bulbs, the history of the winter mandarin orange and its significance to Christmas time, to why white anemones and camellias were once more popular then poinsettia. Matt Mattus is the Worcester based horticultural expert behind the blog Growing with Plants, www.growingwithplants.com, where he describes the joys and trials of his greenhouse, vegetable garden, extensive sweet pea bed, annuals, perennials, and the many projects he tries his hand at. A lifelong interest in horticulture has led him to be involved in numerous horticultural societies. He has been featured in Martha Stewart Living, House and Garden and Better Homes and Garden.

January 24, 2018 – Russell Stafford

Bulbs for Different Garden Habitats

Russell is an experienced ecologist, horticulturist, botanist, and plant enthusiast who grows and sells many of the best and often hard to find ornamental plants for New England gardens at Odyssey Bulbs and Odyssey Perennials. He holds a master’s degree in forest ecology, has served in various professional capacities in public and private horticulture, has written for The American Gardener, Horticulture, and other publications, and is a member of numerous horticultural and botanical associations. He will be discussing some of the best hardy bulbs, corms, rhizomes and tubers that work best in the varied habitats of our gardens.

AND   REMEMBER…   Membership runs from September 2017 – August 2018….    Here is our dues structure:



The HARDY PLANT SOCIETY (HPS) of New England, Connecticut Chapter is a friendly and informal gathering of plant lovers. The stated purpose of HARDY PLANT SOCIETY is to cultivate and promote interest in plants that are hardy in New England, from the tiniest herbaceous plants to giant trees and all between. As our membership draws from a broad range of interests, the exchange of ideas and knowledge among our group is dynamic!

HPS holds a series of evening lectures from September to April. These meetings are held on the fourth Wednesday of the month except November and December when the meetings are held on the third Wednesday. There is no meeting in February. The December meeting also includes a holiday celebration. At meetings, there is often a raffle and/or auction of donated plants.

Our group presents the HARDY PLANT SYMPOSIUM held on the first Saturday in March. We host two presentations in an all-day affair. This event is always interesting and informative. And a lunch consisting of soups and breads is provided by members who really know how to cook!

We invite you to join HARDY PLANT SOCIETY. The annual dues are $40 for a single membership and $45 for a family membership. The membership year begins September 1 and ends August 31.

HPS was formed in 1994 and has since incorporated, achieving 501 (c) (3), non-profit status

PLEASE enclose a stamped self- addressed envelope for your membership card or pick it up at a meeting


Annual Dues: _____ Individual $40.00 _____ Family $45.00

Name(s): ____________________________________________

Address: ____________________________________________


Phone Number: __________________ Email _____________________

Would EMAIL ALONE be for acceptable? _____ YES _____ NO

Please send to Mary Anna Martell, 4 Sunnieside Court, Waterford, CT 06385