Last week I had the pleasure of visiting a private garden on three acres, south…
Summer garden Included elephant ear.
Colocasia, or elephant ear, is a popular plant for the summer garden in the Northeast.
It is a tropical plant that now appears in many beds and borders.
L. H. Bailey wrote in 1900 in his The Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture: “Summer bedding for subtropical effects employs cannas, musas, castor-oil plants, crotons, palms, ferns of coarse habit, screw pines, dracaenas, araucanas, [and] elephant-ear caladiums.”
He refers to the elephant ear plant as a caladium. This plant, like the caladium, is also a genus in the Arum family.
This summer I planted my first elephant ear.
It all began at a local box store in the second half of June.
While checking out the bulbs and tubers in the store, I came across one elephant ear tuber in its original package marked down to half price. The tuber measured five inches high and about four inches wide.
I had never planted an elephant ear before so I thought I would try it.
I planted it in a container at the end of the driveway, a shady area.
Soon the large leaves started appearing. That elephant ear grew just fine. [below]
In 1875 Rochester, New York seedsman James Vick (1818-1882) included this tropical plant in his book The Flower and Vegetable Garden under the section ‘Bulbs & Plants.’
He wrote about both planting and storing the bulb. He said, “Roots obtained in the spring will make a good growth in the summer, and in the fall should be taken up and stored in the cellar, like Dahlias”.
During the summer I visited the Berkshire Botanical Garden in Stockbridge, Massachusetts.
There, near the Visitor Center, I saw a border of elephant ears, both purple and green in color. [below]
Then while touring the gardens of Buffalo, New York during the http://americangardening.net/dating-a-woman-15-years-older/ annual meeting, we visited a garden that had several elephant ear plants in containers.
The owner brings in the containers after the first frost. She stores them in the garage for the winter which she spends in Florida.
For me I guess this was the summer of the colocasia or elephant ear.