May 18, 2010

Froth and Foam

One of the things I like about garden writing is the ability to use words like "frothy" and "foamy".   Mmmmm.

In my garden Tiarella 'Candy Striper' is spreading in a swirl of pink foam around a baptisia that is just emerging in May.  Tiarella's common name is actually foam flower, which is perfectly descriptive.  Later in the season the foliage of the big baptisia will rise over the foam flowers and keep them shaded all summer, which they appreciate.  But right now before the baptisia has any size, the foam flowers are the center of attention:

In Pierce's Woods at Longwood Gardens I saw vast sweeps of soft white foam flowers cascading down a slope under tall trees.  Later I read that there are tens of thousands of foam flowers growing there.  I have twelve here. 

Camassia cusickii has frothy light blue spikes, happy in a small sweep in the wet part of my back garden:
Camassias are quamash, and the Nez Perce dined on the fat bulbs.  I sliced into several early this spring when I accidentally dug some up (completely forgot where they were planted ... that's never happened to you, has it) and I have to admit the oniony bulbs looked richly juicy.  Camassia flowers are made up of delicate pale blue stars, like a frothier version of amsonia.

I don't know why I'm thinking of having a cappuccino, but I am.  Extra foam on yours?


  1. I can't seem to get tiarella to grow in my garden. Can't imagine why. I would love to have a bit of their foamy froth across the garden. I do have a cassima. It is very prolific. I have spread them all about.

  2. We have 'Stoplight' heucherella which is related to the foam flowers. I think I have one planted way in the back near the shed but it doesn't look anywhere near as lush as your foam flowers!

  3. Lisa, my tiarellas languished in 3 other spots until I moved them here. They like the full sun in spring, then the deep shade from the larger plants in the heat of summer.

    Dave, like foam flowers, the heucherellas probably look best in a big drift of many plants. I think heucherellas look just like foam flowers.

  4. I love the tiarella. Now I think I just have to move mine to more sun.

    Why am I thinking of the handy-dandy drink foamer my hubby bought me one year for xmas. Makes any drink better with a little foam...mmm!

  5. I have been admiring foam flowers from afar. I'm not sure how well they will do here, but I may try them in my woodland garden. Yours are gorgeous. The ones at Longwood Gardens must be incredible!

  6. Laurrie, your tiarellas are tia- licious!

  7. Garden Ms. S, try moving yours... I tried several different spots for my tiarellas before they found a good home where I have them now.

    Deborah, the Longwood Gardens tiarellas growing in the woods were absolutely amazing.

    Cyndy, isn't "tiarella" a great name to say? yum

  8. Your Foamflower looks gorgeous. Did you know it's fragrant too (especially when new)? I never would have known unless I end up with a lot, unless the person I was trading up said "Smell this" and held it up to my face.

    I need to try Camassia. It looks lovely. What is the yellow behind it?

  9. Sweet bay, I'll have to go sniff my tiarellas, I didn't notice any fragrance before... thanks! The yellow behind the camassias is the foliage of a brand new spirea 'Ogon', which will get quite large back there. It keeps its bright leaf color I think.


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