Bloom Alert

After another round of slushy snow on Wednesday and Thursday, today is bright and warm, so it’s been hard to stay focused on work.  Needing a break, I pulled my wellies on after lunch for a quick walk to see if any of the woodland natives had “endeavored to persevere” through our extremely cold winter.  I hoped to discover a sign or two of Sanguinaria canadensis (bloodroot), my favorite spring ephemeral, but couldn’t find a trace.

Surprisingly, however, many of the Trillium cuneatum (sweet Betsy), which I rescued from a nearby area of development last spring, are up and already in bud.  There’s still no sign of other, established trilliums.

Trillium cuneatum (sweet Betsy)

Trillium cuneatum (sweet Betsy)

Erythronium americanum, commonly called trout lily for its speckled foliage, is even further along.  One bud has apparently been eaten by a critter, but the rest are within a few days of opening.   The plant, given to me by a friend from her garden in 2013, has bulked up since last year.

Erythronium americanum (trout lily)

Erythronium americanum (trout lily)

I also found foliage of Tipularia discolor (cranefly orchid), easily identified by the dark coloring on the underside of its leaves.  The foliage will die long before flowers appear in late summer.

Tipularia discolor (cranefly orchid)

Tipularia discolor (cranefly orchid)

I often refer to the terraces that extend down to the Reedy River at the rear of our property.  In the upper right-hand corner of the photo below, you can barely see the retaining wall that supports the back garden.   And just to the left of the photo is a second, but shorter, retaining wall.

Woodland between house and river.

Woodland between house and river.

Each neon-pink flag marks a spot where an herbaceous plant grows.  Though unsightly now, they help me remember where it’s safe to add new natives, and they’ll be removed when the area is better established.

The garden surrounding the house contains many non-native ornamentals, while the terrace closest to the river cannot be kept clear of non-natives because of periodic flooding.  The woodland shown here, about a quarter acre, is a haven for native plants only.

23 thoughts on “Bloom Alert

    1. Marian St.Clair Post author

      Matt–Believe it or not, I hardly see the flags anymore. Most of them mark native plants that were covered with English ivy when I moved here in 2010. Each year, more reappear.

      Reply
  1. Julie

    Small signs of Spring at last Marian! I like the idea of just planting natives on the area running down to the river, the flags are a great idea too.

    Reply
    1. Marian St.Clair Post author

      Julie–Many of the natives were already here, which is really the beauty of this property. For years I’ve hiked the nearby hills and mountains to see native wildflowers that now grow in my urban backyard.

      Reply
  2. fernwoodnursery

    Oh , this makes us so desperate for spring and all those early natives. Once the 4 ft. of snow melts, we’ll be out looking for signs of growth. Love Bloodroot, one of my favorites and one we sell here at the nursery. Enjoy the discovery!

    Reply
  3. Marie Barr

    I look forward to your postings. Regarding the cold weather — my 50 year old Camelia bush has always been beautiful this time of year. For the first time, all the buds just seemed to appear frozen, dried up, and fell off. This has been a harsh winter for our area. Waiting for Spring!

    Reply
  4. Pauline

    Trilliums are on my wish list for the woodland here. I’m amazed your Erythronium is up already and almost flowering, there’s no sign of any of mine yet. I like your flags, a good idea, I have my snowdrop labels to tell me where not to plant later in the year, it is so easy to see a blank space and plant something on top of a precious snowdrop!

    Reply
    1. Marian St.Clair Post author

      Pauline–I started with the flags even before we removed the ivy, so I could be especially careful in the areas with existing natives. I can’t tell you how exicted I was the first spring to find a large clump of Trillium cuneatum with 18 blooms!

      Reply
  5. susurrus

    What wonderful chocolate and green foliage on the erythronium and the trillium (two of my favourite woodland plants). I love your pink ‘plant here’ markers too – they’re a step on from red flags. In my tiny front garden I can’t plant anything without digging up bluebells, but I wouldn’t be without them.

    Reply
    1. Marian St.Clair Post author

      Susan–I don’t know why it is so hard to remember where plants are located in the woodland. Maybe its because there is so little structure there, but I would be horrified if I dug up a little native plant that had survived years under a blanket of ivy only to be mauled by me.

      Reply
      1. susurrus

        I’m glad your native plants have such a thoughtful guardian. Trilliums are relatively rare here, though I have seen large plantings of them, including at Sissinghust, I think.

    1. Marian St.Clair Post author

      Dorris–Ha! I didn’t even notice. When you know what it’s supposed to say, for some reason your brain doesn’t see what’s really there. What I really like are wellibobs, but I’ve worn mine out. Maybe I’ll be able to find more when I travel to England this summer. The wellies (mentioned here) came from the Hampton Court Flower Show, but are not used much.

      Reply
      1. digwithdorris

        An easy slip of the keyboard can get us into some funny sentences. Wellibobs are very popular and you will certainly be able to get a new pair when you next visit.

  6. Chloris

    Trilliums and Erythroniums are such a joy in Spring. Mine are nowhere near to blooming, I am amazed that you have them in bloom when you still have snow on the ground. Beautiful.

    Reply

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