"The first year they sleep, the second year they creep, and the third year they leap"
Although this is how many people would describe the growth habits of perennials, I prefer to say that the 'third year you reap' as in reaping the benefits of their habit!
As is the case with one of my all time favorite shade perennials that I have at least 10 of in my gardens.
While I have many varieties of this particular plant in my garden, my favorite is
As you can see this particular variety has beautiful, yellow flowers that look as if they are shooting up from the middle of the plant. They are long lasting flowers that does a beautiful job in contrast to its large, greenish, red leaf. Even when its not in flower, the plant itself is magnificent, setting the stage to a grand show during mid-July through early September.
This particular Ligularia I planted exactly three years ago and while it has bloomed and prospered every year afterwards, I find this year it has doubled its size and flower production. Perhaps its the fact that they are positioned in the exact type of rich, moist soil that they love, or because it's enjoying a shady cover during hot, sunny days.
While in this 'third year', these beauties have reached 4' tall and by all accounts, in future years they will reach their ultimate height of 6' and I can't wait.
They are the perfect companion plant to my Bugbanes (Cimicifuga) which are about 5' at this point and enjoying the exact same needs of soil and light conditions. The Bugbanes are approximately three weeks away from giving their own grand display with a bonus of a beautiful fragrance indeed!
Indeed, there is something to be said about "reaping or leaping in the third year"!