In a Vase on Monday–March 21, 2015

Typically, I wouldn’t cut a native trillium for a vase, but the Trillium cuneatum below (commonly called Sweet Betsy, or sometimes Purple Toadshade) was collected for entry into the horticulture division of a recent flower show and, I’m happy to say, won  first place in the bulb/corm/rhizome/tuber class.  Though its foliage is not quite as turgid as it would be in the field, I’ve loved having the bloom on my windowsill and thought you would enjoy a look too.


First place winner!

This native plant is common across the Upstate in moist woodlands with calcium-rich soils derived from limestone.  On particularly favorable sites, thousands of plants can carpet the forest floor.  Since removing English ivy and other invasive species from our woodland garden over the past five years, the trillium has begun to make a strong comeback.  The area pictured below has nearly 60 blooming plants plus many immature specimens.


Trillium cuneatum in the woodland garden.

Surprisingly, we have not had a frost in Greenville in more than four weeks, but the forecast for tonight calls for a low of 34 degrees F.  Though these trilliums will be fine if there is frost, tender plants which have bloomed or leafed out ahead of schedule, such as azaleas and hydrangeas, might suffer.

To see what other gardeners are offering in a vase today, visit Cathy at Rambling in the Garden.

28 thoughts on “In a Vase on Monday–March 21, 2015

      1. Eliza Waters

        We have mostly the red wake-robins in our area, although some places the white are around. I bought a yellow one with mottled leaves (like yours), but it hasn’t increased at all that I can tell. Trilliums are great additions to the shade garden.

  1. Linda Butcher

    What an amazing display of Trillium you haveJ

    Congratulations on your ‘win’!

    Linda Butcher

    1. Marian St.Clair Post author

      Julie–You are right! It’s such a shame that some, mostly non-gardeners, plant ivy as a ground cover and then make no attempt to control it. It grows throughout the woodlands in our urban areas where it has overrun its garden boundaries.

    1. Marian St.Clair Post author

      Frogend–Sweet Betsy is the most common, but we have many other species of trillium too. I hope to fit in a hike or two in the next weeks, but the upcoming schedule doesn’t look very promising.

    1. Marian St.Clair Post author

      Automatic–The stem is about 10-inches tall, but I’ve trimmed the end a few times. The bloom is just over 3 inches. It really is a lovely plant. Sometimes, the flowers are yellow.

  2. Sharon Lanier

    I have never seen so many trilliums in one place! Absolutely stunning!! We are also expecting 34 degrees tonight. Worried about my hydrangeas 😕

    1. Marian St.Clair Post author

      Pauline–Well, I have to admit there wasn’t much competition in the class, but it really is a thing of beauty. I’m changing the water everyday and I think it will last a good while.

  3. pbmgarden

    Your Sweet Betsy looks lovely in the vase. Great to see they’re making a come-back. My husband and I visited the NC Botanical Garden this morning to check on the trilliums. Saw a few Sweet Betsy and one twisted trillium–still not many open yet.

  4. Cathy

    Thanks you for sharing your prize winning trillium with us, Marian. As others have said, the naturalised clump of them look gorgeous too

  5. casa mariposa

    I would love to have trilliums pop up in my garden but unless I plant them I can file that notion under Ain’t Gonna Happen. But lucky you to have so many! They’re beauties. 🙂

  6. Mary Stark Kendrick

    How did you remove the english ivy and other invasives? Based on the few trillium, bloodroot, and sweet shrub that have managed to find their way out of the ivy, vinca, and liriope in our backyard, I believe more natives lay in wait if I could only clear their way!

    1. Marian St.Clair Post author

      Mary–We pulled the ivy, using a hooked stick in the left hand to pull the ivy forward and a michete in the right to break the roots free of the soil. Then, just pile it up and gather later. After a soaking rain is best. Each spring, I walk through the garden to find any small bits that have popped up.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s