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I can’t tell you how much I wish this post was showing you the new beds in the back/side yard, but I still haven’t finished pulling up the sod. Apparently I grossly underestimated how much sod there was to remove and just what a pain in the butt it is to remove. I think I can finish it up with one good night after work, but I need it to stop raining for that to happen.

Rather than dwell on what’s not happening in the garden, one of my favorite things to do at this time of year is enjoy all the beautiful plants in the woodland area that just take care of themselves. It’s always a little amazing that I spend so much time coddling some of the plants in the garden then so many other go and just manage themselves and are so beautiful.

The Virginia bluebells are all over the garden as well as the woods, but they are really such a beautiful simple flower. When I tire of the foliage I just chop it back and the plants never seem to be any worse for the wear.

The Impatient Gardener: Southeastern Wisconsin wildflowers, Virginia bluebells

The jack-in-the-pulpits (Arisaema triphyllum) have really spread themselves around the garden and the woods in recent years and I don’t mind a bit.  They have such an exotic look to them.

The Impatient Gardener: Southeastern Wisconsin wildflowers, jack in the pulpit
The Impatient Gardener: Southeastern Wisconsin wildflowers, jack in the pulpit
I love the mayapples. These plants disappear almost out of the blue but always come back like little umbrellas. Unfortunately, this is the area where in the past I’ve had several white trilliums and I can’t find any this year. I can’t imagine what happened to them. I have plenty of (delicious) ramps (the strappy foliage in the next picture) and a few more bloodroots (which have the most amazing leaves in addition to cute little white flowers), but the trilliums are missing. I’m heartbroken.
The Impatient Gardener: Southeastern Wisconsin wildflowers, mayapples
The Impatient Gardener: Southeastern Wisconsin wildflowers, ramps and bloodroot

Along the stream my absolute favorite wildflower is blooming, although I feel the population has decreased a bit this year. I just adore marsh marigolds.

The Impatient Gardener: Southeastern Wisconsin wildflowers, marsh marigold

As I was taking the photo of the marsh marigolds, I was surprised to look down and see this little sedum popping up all along the rocks. I didn’t plant it there and there are no sedums that are native to Wisconsin, so this little guy came from somewhere but I have no idea where. It’s a lovely little accent.

The woods are covered in skunk cabbage, which despite its name, is quite a lovely plant. Right now it looks like bright green hostas dotted throughout the woods. Its bold foliage is the perfect compliment to the just-unfurling ostrich ferns. Soon the ferns will stretch to 5 feet tall and open all their fronds and the woods will disappear into a sea of green.

The Impatient Gardener: Southeastern Wisconsin wildflowers, skunk cabbage

 This little scilla siberica is so charming in the middle of the woods.

The Impatient Gardener: Southeastern Wisconsin wildflowers, scilla siberica

The trout lilies are all over the shade garden and I’ve given up trying to get them out. They seem to be relatively harmless and even sort of cute when they flower. This one was shy in the morning, but its flowers are usually open when I get home from work.

The Impatient Gardener: Southeastern Wisconsin wildflowers, trout lily

I’m so happy we have the little bit of woodland. I can’t imagine a spring without these beautiful plants, made even more attractive by the fact that I didn’t do anything to make them bloom.

4 Responses

  1. My red trilliums didn't bloom this year, although there was foliage. Don't despair, trilliums are hardy and I'm sure they are just "resting" after the horrid winter.
    Marsh marigolds are one of my favourites too – I always look forward to seeing their shots of yellow beside a spring stream.
    Lovely tour of your woodlands – thanks for sharing it.
    On another note – re: sod pulling. I discovered a new and very effective way of building new beds. Cut the grass short, lay 4 or 5 layers of newspaper over the area and wet it down good. Then just lay your new soil on top to a depth of about 6". The newspaper blocks any light getting through to the grass and it dies off. The paper decomposes and acts as a mulch. We did that last year with our secret garden and it worked beautifully.

    1. I often do the newspaper thing, but I'm trying to avoid having to bring in mass quantities of soil for this. Plus I want to plant right away and in my experience the newspaper thing works best when you do it a season or so ahead. The good news is that I got another two hours in last night and I'm ALMOST finished!

    1. You know, when we first bought the house I had no idea what they were and I kept digging them out (they are everywhere, including in the lawn). Thank goodness I finally gave up and realized that they had really pretty flowers!

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