Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Wildflower Wednesday


Following a winter break, April is a good time to re-join Wildflower Wednesday, Gail's monthly celebration of (mostly native) wildflowers. It's such a joy having wildflowers blooming again here in the Chicago southland.

The foliage is just as pretty as the flowers on celandine poppies (Stylophorum diphyllum, above,) also commonly known as wood poppies. While I've read they need consistently moist soil, they thrive here in our dry shade woodland garden. Celandine poppies self-seed readily, so I generally try to stay on top of deadheading them. Keeping them deadheaded also helps keep them blooming here spring through fall.



I'm not sure if this a red or white trillium. We had both, though two of them haven't reappeared this spring. The reds were planted five years ago, and the white one two years ago. This will be the first one to ever bloom. Trilliums, also known as wake robin, can take years to become established and bloom. They are becoming more and more rare in their native habitats. Prized by many gardeners, care should be taken that they are purchased from reputable growers. Mom is very lucky to have a nice stand of them in her woods, but this is one of the plants I wouldn't disturb to bring home for our garden.



It's the first year our Virginia bluebells (Mertensia virginica,) are blooming! Planted three years ago, some came from Possibility Place, our local native plants nursery. A few also came from K's (my firstborn's) garden last spring. They sulked after transplanting them here, wilting and dying back within a couple of weeks. I was so happy to see them come back this spring!

Virginia bluebells, like trilliums, are spring ephemerals. Ephemerals are woodland plants with a short growing season during which they leaf out, bloom, set seed, and then the above-ground part of the plant dies back. Bluebells can be prolific self-seeders, forming large colonies in a few years. Now that our long-awaited blooms are here, some will be allowed to set seed, but most will be deadheaded to prevent them from taking over the garden. Extra seedlings can also easily be weeded from the garden or shared with fellow native-plant lovers.



Last but certainly not least are these mystery Spring beauties (Claytonia virginica,) another ephemeral. I'm not sure how these tiny plants got here, but am happy they came! Most likely their seeds arrived with the other woodland natives transplanted from Mom's woods or K's gardens last spring, or maybe they were planted by squirrels or birds. Spring beauties are also known as fairy spuds, as the tubers (which are edible and said to taste like chestnuts,) look like tiny potatoes.

Wildflower Wednesday is hosted on the fourth Wednesday each month by my friend Gail who blogs from Tennessee at Clay and Limestone. In honor of spring, this time she's celebrating wildflowers with a week-long extravaganza. Native plant lovers will revel in the plethora of inspiring posts by Gail and other participating bloggers.

26 comments:

  1. One of the best parts of reading other blogs is learning...I learned alot from you today. I have never had shade and am so facinated by the spring woodland natives!

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  2. I am a sucker for anything blue in the garden. Those blue bells are such a lovely early season gift. Cheers!

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  3. Hi GG,

    Isn't it great when we find plants that just appear from nowhere. I am on an old property in a newer home and I find many plants that I know I didn't put in the ground.

    The Virginia Bluebells are wonderful, too bad they don't bloom longer.

    Eileen

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  4. Spring beauties, the leaves are different, but the flowers could almost be our Oxalis.

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  5. Excellent choices for WW, Linda! I really like the Claytonia; how nice that you got this bonus plant along the way somewhere. I really don't have any spring ephemerals in my garden; I would love to establish a bluebell colony, though.

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  6. It's so fun when something blooms after years of anticipation! I love the Claytonia too!

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  7. I have also learned some things here...

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  8. I love the bluebells and the claytonia, such lovely colours!

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  9. Linda, I love early spring, love it! Love the ephemerals, the smells the crisp morning. Love Spring Beauty~It all makes me happy.

    I keep trying celandine poppies (Stylophorum diphyllum) it just won't get established! But, I am trying it again~in a different spot.

    Happy WW,
    gail

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  10. They maybe tiny but are definitely photogenic! Love those two Spring beauties in the last photo. You made me think of lantana. It's a weed that has became popular. Probably these pretty wildflowers can eventually make gardens beautiful also ;-)

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  11. Happy Easter season, Linda.

    Esther

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  12. Sissy, seems no matter how much we've learned, there's always something new to discover!

    I love blue in the garden too Avis! I've loved bluebells since the first time I saw them - so glad to finally have some here!

    It's really fun when something new and unexpected shows up Eileen. It's happened here a few times.

    EE, they are very welcome here!

    Thank you Rose! If I can save some bluebell seeds I'll let you know in case you'd like some. They would probably start pretty easily if you just scattered some seed where you want them.

    Sure is Rose - it's a whole different experience than the same-season bloom of most newly-planted nursery stock perennials.

    Thanks Darla!

    Chandan, it's so nice to see color again after a long, cold, snowy winter.

    Me too Gail - so fresh, so new, so full of promise. I love the light, love the feeling of renewal, love the green shoots pushing up out the soil, love the scent of spring. Can't think of anything about it I don't love other than some of the crazy, downright dangerous weather it can bring.

    Hope those celandine poppies work for you this time!

    It's fun to photograph them Stephanie - I love how the detail of the stripes and their pretty pink anthers can be seen so clearly in closeups.

    Thank you Esther! Happy Easter season to you too!

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  13. Congrats, this is the first year my Virginia Bluebells bloomed too. :)

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  14. Yay Racquel! They're worth waiting for!

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  15. I didn't know that about trilliums. Now I wish I had added some to my garden because it would be a shame if they disappeared and I didn't have any of them.

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  16. MBT, I don't think they're in danger of extinction, it's just that their natural habitats have so often been disturbed they're more rare in the wild now. They're still readily available, and I think will be, from native plants nurseries, and sometimes I've even seen them at a big box store.

    I just wouldn't want to support a grower who's digging trilliums from the wild, and as tempted as I might be to bring some home from my mom's, I feel pretty strongly that they should be left alone where they still exist in native habitats.

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  17. That's quite some wonderful comment you left on Mr Brown Thumb's post about Middle Aged Women Gardeners. (Or not!) It's a kind of hymn.

    Esther

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  18. Thank you Esther! Maybe it's because gardening is, to me, a kind of hymn. :)

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  19. I love the trilliums too. My grandma's house had lots of them growing like wildfire in her woods. I was so mad at my neighbor last year, he mowed down my wildflower field as well as a few of my blackberry bushes. He was trying to be helpful, so I didn't say anything, but another neighbor reamed him out about it.

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  20. the bluebells are lovely...

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  21. So lovely, Linda. We are both blessed with these beauties. I have huge colonies of trillium both in home garden and at the lake. Celandine poppies prolific! I so love spring. Thankfully the weather is now kind. Let's enjoy!

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  22. I'm so happy to see them blooming DGG!

    How wonderful having colonies of trilliums at both your homes Joey!

    I love spring too! Rain or shine, warm or chilly, it's such a beautiful season, meant to be savored.

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  23. I keep seeing Virginia Bluebells, and I believe I am going to have to add them to my list of plants to add to my garden. They are so beautiful. Thanks for sharing your garden. Happy GBBD!

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  24. They are so welcome in early spring Sage Butterfly! They were on my list for a while, and I'm so glad to have them!

    Since they're ephemerals they can be planted between later-blooming perennials. I love blue blooms, and they're perfect with daffodils and other early bloomers!

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  25. Garlic mustard has taken out a lot of trillium in our natural areas here, but I kow of one location with major gm pulls where the trillium population is reestablishing itself. I had a few in my shady bed. This also reminds me I went on a wildflower walks weeks and weeks ago and never did a blog post...

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  26. Garlic mustard - oy Monica! We never had problems with it in our yard until recently. Our neighbor behind us with the badly neglected yard has garlic mustard, among other nasties that are making their way over here. I've been attacking it over there to try to keep it from getting too bad over here.

    I think garlic mustard is also one of the reasons trilliums are disappearing from wooded areas around here.

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