No doubt, you will have had the experience of your eyes falling on a plant and then your jaw drops; your mouth opens; you oooh and aaaaah; you go weak at the knees, your heart flutters; you wonder – just for a very brief moment before morals regain the upper hand – that if you grabbed it now and ran would you get away with it; oooooh, you desire this plant; you long for it; you love and adore it – though you haven’t even been introduced – and then, to cap it all, you find it is named after one of Ireland’s greatest gardeners, a most wonderful gentleman, and a kind and generous friend. It is the perfect desire storm!
I really can’t tell how I expressed my interest in a division when such became possible; I certainly hope I did so gently, politely and that the green did not show too obviously in my eyes. The owner of the plant – the originator, the first to grow it, the one who named it – must have noted my deep admiration and love of the plant and very generously sent on a piece nearly two years ago. Oh, you know the feeling – like winning the plant lottery, a feeling of such intense happiness and gratitude and longing for the moment it would flower here in our own garden.
It came into growth last year but didn’t flower, just one leaf, but that was a great reassurance that the plant was healthy and that all would be well in due course. One lives in hope in these matters and as the man for whom the plant was named would always say, “If we got all we wanted this year; we’d have nothing to look forward to next year.”
I thought it was a little slow to appear this year – other Trillium chloropetalum plants near it were into growth ahead of it and, of course, a certain panic set in, followed by that garden practice that we really shouldn’t wish to admit to – a little dig around to see if there was any sign of growth underground. The spot was well marked with a substantial piece of wood to which I had attached a label. I dug down, with greater care than an archaeologist at an Egyptian pyramid, and found nothing! Oh god, the drop in blood pressure which follows such an event is truly dangerous to one getting on in years. I was heartbroken and wondered how I could ever explain such a loss to the kind donor – for such gifts bring responsibility with them.
As it turned out, I was off the scene for a while and not out in the garden so it came as a huge surprise when Mary came in one day and told me that “that trillium” is after appearing. I had done my exploratory digging at the wrong side of the label – what a relief! My trillium scout brought daily reports – god bless her patience and kindness – and the flower opened last evening but looked absolutely splendid in this morning’s brighter light.
Trillium chloropetalum ‘Bob Gordon’ was named by Billy Moore for Bob Gordon who can grow trilliums as easily as the rest of us do daisies in our lawns. It is a fabulous plant – there is not a trillium to compare with it for form nor beauty – and it is wonderful that it bears Bob’s name.