The flowers of this plant caught my eye in Japan recently – thanks to Bill Dijk who almost instantly named it for me! I have now learned this evergreen perennial likes a reliably moist soil in part shade, which would explain why I saw it growing beside water in the garden of Ginkakuji (Silver Pavilion) in Kyoto.
Spring-flowering Heloniopsis orientalis is native to Japan and Korea. Photo: Sandra Simpson
There seems to be a few colours, ranging from white to purple, and some named hybrids available. However, the plant appears not to be for sale in New Zealand!
For those in New Zealand, English garden broadcaster Monty Don is currently exploring Japanese gardens, screening on Choice TV on Fridays at 9.30pm or watch it on demand.