This is the very beautiful pink-flowered form of Trillium and is the only member of the Melanthium family mentioned in Charles Nelson’s A Heritage of Beauty. Dr Nelson’s entry for this plant quotes Dr Keith Lamb who said “this variety originated long ago in Smith’s nursery at Daisy Hill”. We obtained our first T. grandiflorum forma roseum from Rare Plants, a nursery then operated by Dr Paul Christian who noted that it was produced by vegetative propagation from stock obtained from the Royal Botanical Garden in Edinburgh. However, it was the source of Edinburgh’s plants that proved interesting. Dr Christian’s notes went on to say that Edinburgh’s stock had been obtained originally from the nursery that introduced the plant to cultivation in Ireland and further afield – Daisy Hill Nursery, Newry. So a double confirmation that our plant had good Irish origins.

We have found trilliums relatively easy to grow. Our plants reside in a raised, north-facing bed containing a layer of coarse grit on top of which is a deep mix of peat, leaf mould and garden compost. When planting, we add in turn a little grit and a layer of compost before we place the rhizome. Trilliums can be ‘shy’ the first year after planting; no leaves may appear and at this stage a well-intentioned ‘poke’ to discover if the plant is alive will do more harm than good. Basically, leave well alone, and wait for leaves to appear in a subsequent year. Once established, the plants will increase gradually and can form spectacular colonies.

The good news is that I am aware of two sources, both online: Rare Plants ( who list it as Trillium grandiflorum Roseum and Twelve Nunns ( who list it as Trillium grandiflorum forma roseum. There may be others. A note of caution: prices vary from £17.50p/€20 to £27.50p/€32 depending on size but it is well worth the expense to enjoy this choice Irish trillium.

(As appeared in Newsletter 147, January 2020. Text courtesy of Peter Milligan, photo by Nicola Milligan)