Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Wildflower Wednesday - The Prequel

Yesterday, we'd returned to more seasonable temperatures.  The -2C (29F) was just enough to produce icicles at the edge of Lake Ontario.

It has been a spring of early surprises for us.  Plants I've bought that in years past that had cursed me for planting them in my snowy winter garden, are now bursting with bloom.  I've never had my own Rhodo in bloom before I saw those Rhodos and Azaleas at the Masters in Georgia.  (And, frankly that's the only reason I watch.)

For the most part, the natives seemed to be following their own predetermined clock.  However, going back to my reference books, I've discovered that they too have been thrown off.  This is Symplocarpus foetidus or Eastern Skunk Cabbage.  It blooms the last week of March in this part of Ontario followed by the leaves.  As you can see.  The bloom, the odd looking spotted blob, is on the way out and the leaves are at least a week or two ahead of schedule.

Cornus mas is one of the earliest dogwoods to bloom.  It's a come-from-away European native that does well here - often escaping into the woods.  This one is probably over 50 years old.

The difference between bud and flower can be simply a matter of a few kilometres.  This little patch of Sanginaria canadensis from Richard Birkett's garden is getting ready to put on a show.

This weekend at the Royal Botanical Gardens about 15k away, I found these lovely little blooms in the woodland garden.

Here's the Hepatica shivering away yesterday.

Related to the native Polygonatum odoratum is Polygonatum odoratum 'Variegatum' - so I'm cheating a bit here, but any chance I have to showcase this wonderful shade plant - I'm all over it.

Grown from seed (I just love throwing that in.) is my Mahonia aquifolium Oregon Grape.  My mother had given me a note card with a package of seeds inside.  This was a very easy year for it, and it looks as if I'm going to have lots of pretty yellow blossoms very soon.

Shade plants have some of the most beautiful leaves.  The blossoms are dark red on this trillium though I don't always get a blossom.

One of my garden treasures is the Mertensia virginica Virginia Bluebells.  They grow so well in this shady, sandy spot.

How's this for an early appearance....Podophyllum peltatum.  Its common name of May Apple gives you an idea of how this little plant may have jumped the gun.

You know, it isn't just kilometres, sometimes it's a few meters that can cause a real difference in timing.  This is the Blood Root in the backyard - definitely a week behind the front yard.

And here comes freight train Bart right on schedule.

Perhaps there are other factors in the delay of these little blossoms?

Buds on the Trillium grandiflorum - Ontario's provincial flower.  So glad I rescued him from that property that was razed.

And not native, and not a wildflower, but gorgeous all the same, and certainly worth a look since we're here in the back garden:  Hellebore Ivory Prince.  Looking into these blossoms, makes me realize that we're just weeks away from my natives and the rest of the garden putting on their fabulous spring show.  It's the perfect prequel poster plant for the season that's just around the corner.  

For more lovely wildflowers around the world, visit Gail at


Lea said...

I enjoyed seeing what is coming up!
Beautiful foliage!
Lovely hellebores!
Cute puppy dog!
Happy Wildflower Wednesday!
Lea's Menagerie

Elephant's Eye said...

In the week since I put my post up, the March lilies are living up to their name. Not a LOT of flowers, but the buds are open and I see hopefully, more coming.

scottweberpdx said... nice seeing all that new growth...that Trillium foliage is a knockout! It's such a weird spring...some plant are litearlly months earlier than usual, while others are months late...and there seems to be no rhyme or reason to it all!

Carol said...

Happy April (almost) and Spring Barbara! Lovely to see all these spring gems. I love the photos of the first bloodroot flowers and all the brave little growth reaching out from the dark, cold earth. . . it always amazes me how plants survive our frigid winters. What a fabulous time of year.

Jennifer said...

Hi Barbara, So many interesting plants in this post, many I am not familiar with. Do you have a source for native plants? I know Humber Nursery has trilliums and they are high on my wish list. I really like the foliage on your red trillium. It is almost pretty enough to have without a bloom!

Barbarapc said...

Lea - You are the queen of exclamation marks and enthusiasm! Thanks so much for visiting my blog.

Barbarapc said...

Absolutely none. Makes for a very exciting spring.

Barbarapc said...

It is indeed. Every morning seems to bring a new surprise.

Barbarapc said...

Hi Jennifer
I've used Humber Nurseries, Loblaws (every now and again they get a wildflower shipment - usually in the spring), Sheridan. Seeds I've used from Gardens North. The biggest source are the homes that have been razed in the area. I'm a bit of a bandit when I see that they're just going to scrape everything bare for a large home.....pilfering for good....not for evil.

Gail said...

What a lovely array of wildflowers~ I love the spring ephemerals and wish they were here just a tiny bit longer! But at 80F they really were here today and gone tomorrow! How absolutely cool that you grew the mahonia from seed! I am greatly impressed! Happy WW~very late on my part. gail