This arisaema species came to me from our friends in town but I am not sure what species it is and I don't they remember either. I think it could be A. japonicum or amurense, but if an arisaema expert (I know you are out there) reads this perhaps I can get the correct identification. It is a good doer in that it is permanent and multiplies into a nice clump. It flowers the first week of May which is early since others like A. consanguineum arent even sprouting yet. Typical red berries are produced later in the year, each "berry" containing a single seed within. Arisaema is one of several "collectable" genera which has a devoted fan club. Some of the species aren't always reliable, skipping a year of growth or disappearing altogether, A. sikokianum being one of those. Others such as Arisaema consanguineum are easy to raise from seed and fairly permanent in the garden if the tubers are planted deep in decent soil. For many arisaemas it is best to raise the seedlings in pots and keep the small tubers dry and cool in their pot for the first year then plant out the tubers in their second spring before they grow. Larger tubers can be planted deeper which is desirable as some species do not like deep freezing. However this one is an easy grower, and our native Jack In The Pulpit, A. triphyllum, don't seem to need special treatment.
Tall dark stalks with reddish flowers of Polygonatum kingianum rise from the ground, later on they will bend in an almost vine like way. Since I have only one clone of this species thus far I dont ever seem to get berries which are often as attractive or more so than the flowers of many in this genus. With time the rhizomes branch and spread out slowly. The dead woody trunk nearby is one of two common lilacs that I killed off to make room for more choice plants in this garden. I keep one lilac (Syringa vulgaris) on another side of the property on one of the borders simply because I like the fragrant flowers which come later in the month. But in the garden S. vulgaris suckers and needs much maintenance to keep it in good blooming condition and to not let it overrun its neighbors.
Stout stems and dark clustered leaves signal the emergence of lilies. In this area I have mainly Orientpet lilies, particularly Scheherarzade which I transplanted from the old house. Lilies here need to be sprayed with a systemic insecticide upon emergence and maybe one more time before flowering to kill lily beetles which would otherwise devour the plant. These bright red beetles resemble an elongated ladybug without spots. They are an invasive species from Europe that destroys any lily or fritillary that they find. The adults eat foliage, lay orange eggs on the undersides of the leaves, then the hideous slug like larvae hatch out and do even more damage. The larvae cover themselves in their own feces to make them even more disgusting. I tried the hand pick and squash approach, but in my experience it is not efficient at killing them before they do a lot of damage. Imidicloprid or any other systemic insecticide does the job far more thoroughly. The grass, Andropogon eucomis, which is sprouting is a species from South Africa where it grows in moist highveld in summer rainfall areas. Its rhizomes go deep enough for it to survive without winter protection but cold winters will kill sections of it. But some pieces always survive and grow and after a mild winter like the past one every piece survives. It is wandering more than I like so I have been removing some of it so it doesnt swamp smaller plants. The white fluffy seedheads are modestly attractive as is the bold foliage but I wouldn't recommend it for a small garden.
On May 12 I took this photo of a tree peony I grew from seed with its first flower. Not too bad I have to say, and it should grow larger with more flowers each year. The flowers are short lived but beautiful enough to have inspired all manner of art in China and Japan where they are treasured. Peony seeds are large and easy to plant but patience is required as they usually grow a root if kept fairly warm and moist, then they need about 3 months of cold to be able to grow a shoot. So if planted in summer in the ground nothing will be seen above ground till the following spring, and sometimes one waits longer than that. The seeds can also be put in moist sphagnum in small ziplock bags and after roots show, the bags can be put in the refrigerator to simulate winter (not the freezer, that will kill the seeds), then they should either be forming shoots or will do so after they are exposed to room temperatures. Once the sprouts start, the seeds can be teased apart from the moss and planted in pots or directly into the ground. First flowers on herbaceous peonies will take 3 or 4 years and usually 4 or more for woody peony species and hybrids.