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Spring in the woods if not in the garden


I haven’t cleaned up the garden yet and although I’m feeling anxious about being behind, there’s very little happening right now and I know I still have some time. 

But while the cultivated parts of our yard are very, very slowly waking up, the natural areas, those that are mostly free of my intervention, are doing the most wonderful things. 

moss pincushion
The most perfect pincushion of moss.
I only have a few small patches of ramps so the fact that the deer have been munching on them (note: deer are not supposed to eat ramps, someone please tell them), does not make me happy. But I feel fortunate to have these.
Mayapple emerging
Mayapples, which look like umbrellas when they open love our neighborhood and the semi-large patch in our wooded area is nothing compared to the woods across the road where mayapples cover the ground as far as the eye can see. I’m not sure if that white shoot is also a mayapple or not, but the drink umbrella is.
skunk cabbage in woods
The dominant plant in the woods for the time being is skunk cabbage, which has beautiful light green, almost tropical looking leaves. Soon the ostrich ferns will pop up and everything else will disappear from view.
skunk cabbage
The skunk cabbage is mostly finished blooming. The actual flower is a tiny yellow thing that is protected in side that purple calyx.
trout lily leaves
When we bought this house it took me awhile to realize that the small spotted leaves that were everywhere were not weeds. They are, in fact, Erythronium americanum, also known as trout lilies. If you look back through the other pictures, you’ll probably see them in those as well, because they truly are everywhere, including the lawn. I don’t get a lot of flowers, but the leaves are pretty and innocuous.
virginia bluebells in woods
I grow Virginia bluebells in the garden, but patches in the woods arrived by themselves and always grow faster.
virginia bluebells flower
They are even showing signs of blooming soon.
Scillia blue flower
Scillia is the most welcome find in the woods. It is tiny, but the brilliant blue color stands out.
Bloodroot is the one exception to the other plants in this post in that I did plant this from a division. It is my favorite wild flower and it is just starting to emerge here. The thicker purple leaf to the left is an encroaching ligularia.

Proof once again that plants don’t need us silly gardeners. They do spring better than I do.


7 Responses

  1. Loved this post! As we wait for our “big show” in the garden, we often miss Nature’s constant one. Thanks for the reminder to take more notice.

  2. Trout Lilies! I just noticed today that some have flowers – for the first time ever – here just 6 miles northwest of Boston. ! Not sure what was different this year, but I a welcoming the lovely yellow flowers!

  3. Beautiful!! We were in Madison overnight last weekend, and I had fun exploring my mother in law’s garden with her. She is moving and dividing some bloodroot, so I was happy to bring a chunk home (even though I already have some!). She also sent some pink fall anemones and epimedium. It was well worth helping them empty their shed and start on deck demo!! Love those bluebells in your woods. I hope the snow skips Wisconsin this weekend.

  4. I live in southeast Wisconsin and am not happy about the 6 inches is snow forecast for tomorrow in my corner of the world! I have been getting so much pleasure in discovering the buds and sprouts—it’s my favorite time of the year.

  5. Your wooded area is lovely. Skunk cabbage is such an unusual plant. I think you are lucky to have some in your garden. I have only seeen it once before. I don’t think it grows this far south.

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