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H. Perennial & Old Fashioned Garden Plants & Flowers by John Wood
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Tiarella Cordifolia - Hardy Perennial

Author: John Wood

Tiarella Cordifolia - Hardy Perennials and Old Fashioned Flowers

Tiarella Cordifolia Described.

Tiarella Cordifolia - Nat. Ord. Saxifragaceæ.

The illustration, together with the order given to which it belongs, will convey a fair idea of the style and habit of the plant, but its exquisite flowers must be seen to be appreciated, and hardly could they appear to more advantage than in a growing state, the rich foliage forming their most natural and effective ground. This hardy herbaceous perennial has been known to English gardens for 150 years, and was introduced from North America, where it grows in glorious masses, but common as it is in its native country, and long as it has been grown in this, I scarcely know a flower respecting which so many have been in error as regards the true species. I have had all sorts of things sent to me under the name, and, after all, it is easy to be wrong with it unless the amateur has either closely noted its distinctions or grown it for a year at least. Heucheras are similar in habit and shape of foliage, and are often confounded with it, though otherwise very distinct. Tellima grandiflora, when in its young state, is very like it, but the strong crowns should be noted—they are twice the strength of T. cordifolia, and develop foliage more than double its size, whilst the flowers are on stems 3ft. high, nearly green, and might easily be taken for seed pods.

The Mitellas, however, are much more puzzling, the distinctions being finer and mostly of a botanical character. Still, in May and June, when all are in flower, the identification of our subject is not difficult, more especially if the other species of the same order are near for comparison.

T. cordifolia grows to the height of 9in. to 12in.; the flowers are composed of a calyx (five-parted) and five petals, which are entire, evenly set in the calyx. The ten stamens are prominent; each flower has a stout pedicel, which holds out the pretty white blossom in a nearly horizontal way. There is nothing of a bell-shape character about the flower, as in its nearest relative the Mitella. The flower stem is erect and round, being evenly furnished with flowers, for a length of 4in. to 6in.; the flowers are very lasting. The leaves are heart-shaped, acutely lobed, denticulate, slightly wrinkled, hairy on both sides, and more or less spotted or splashed with brown spots on the main ribs; the leaf stalks are long, and carry the foliage gracefully. The whole plant has a neat habit, and, when in vigorous health, sends out surface creepers.

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Tiarella Cordifolia

It enjoys moist quarters and slight shade, though it is grown as seen in the drawing in an exposed part. The soil is good, but otherwise there is nothing special about its culture. If this little spring flower can be made more known, it will be sure to be more widely cultivated; for covering the bare parts of lawn shrubberies it would form a pleasing subject, and might be mixed with the scarlet ourisia and the finer sorts of myosotis; these would make an excellent blend, all flowering together, and lasting for a long time, besides being suitable otherwise for such shady positions. When increase is desired strong plants may be divided at any time, soon after flowering being the best; if the season be dry, the young stock should be shaded by a leafy branch and kept well watered.

Flowering period, May and June.

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