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.