This marvelous display of July 4th color and majesty is from KeaNeato!’s post. It may be a day late on my blog, but beautiful just the same.
Posts Tagged ‘wildflowers’
Born and raised in Ontario, Canada, I suppose I have to pick the White Trillium – trillium rhomboideum grandiflorum - as my final favorite native spring wildflower. When I was growing up in the Niagara Falls area, the hardwood forests would be blanketed with white and red trilliums each March and April. Ontario chose the trillium as its provincial flower in 1937. My cub scout uniform even bore a patch with the idyllic three-petaled blossom on its right-side. Its name is somewhat self-descriptive. “Tri” meaning three-petaled, and “lium” referring to its being part of the lily family.
Threatened in many parts of the Midwest, they do not transplant well or tolerate being picked. This work is left to ants that collect trillium seeds to eat their elaisomes (fleshy structures that are attached to the seeds of many plant species) and distribute the seeds to new locations. Vespid wasps do this this by entering the berries and carrying off the seeds. Deer also eat the flowers and foliage, passing the seeds through their digestive tracts and helping distribute the seeds across long distances. However, increasing deer populations can ultimately destroy trillium populations.
In Matthew 6:28 Jesus asked, “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin.” The passage invites us to ponder how much God cares for the lowly flowers of the field. Without any effort on our part, they reappear each year in all their glory. If He takes care of them, we can certainly trust that He’ll care even more for us.
So what are some of your favorite spring wildflowers?
I haven’t been able to get a photo of this year’s Virginia Bluebells – mertensia virginica – from my garden, but have this photo from last year. Although they don’t appear as early as Bloodroot or Trout Lily, they do show up well before the month of May. Related to the Forget-me-not, the “Virginia” Bluebell is believed to called such because of where they were first identified, but can be found as far north as Minnesota.
I planted mine as bareroot stock as they are threatened in many parts of the Midwest. Slowly they have been forming colonies in my flower beds. We just love the way they transform from pink buds to an electric blue. They also attract butterflies, skippers, hummingbirds, moths and neighbors.
Maurice McClew, a Steuben County attorney and avid Indiana Naturalist of the past century once quoted Isaiah 52:7 in his journal, “How lovely on the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings”. He was not referring to your typical messenger, but to the wildflowers of spring that announce the coming of spring.
Yesterday, my wife and I spent an hour or so walking through a nearby woodland and noticed the spring wildflowers, some that are only with us for just a very short time. Yet their arrival each year remind us that regardless of how cold our winters may or may not be, God is faithful and His creation reminds us of that. The markets may not return at the rates we would like, people may even disappoint us, but God demonstrates His reliability through the spring arrival of these marvelous beauties.
One of my favorite springtime wildflowers, a native to the Midwest, is Bloodroot or, sanguinary canadensis. It’s not a surprise that this glowing white flower is a member of the poppy family as its bloom is much larger than many spring wildflowers. Blooming from late February until May, it tends to grow in clusters or colonies.
So where does it get its common name? Well in the 1600s, French explorer Samuel de Champlain observed that the root makes a crimson dye. In fact, if you break one of its stalks, it will produce red juice.
Ants collect, eat and spread its seeds, butterflies seek its nectar but find none, but along with flies and beetles they help pollenate the plant.
So if you haven’t been for a walk in the woods yet, get out there. These marvels of springtime won’t last for long.
If you’re like me, you’ve probably faced the frustration of bringing home some new perennial from the garden center, planted it in your garden and then watched it wither within a few years or less. Why don’t they thrive? Well, the simply answer is that they’re not native to your area. This means that soil conditions, rainfall are not ideal. Some of them come from overseas, some from other areas of the country, and yet others are simply strange hybrids that may or may not be do well at all.
In addition to the problem of getting them to survive, they do nothing for the local bird and insect species that depend on plants, seeds and habitat for their survival. See my earlier post Why Insects Won’t Eat Our Alien Plants.
Currently, however, there are a number of suppliers for woodland wildflowers and other native flowers. Jung Seed and Plants has are wonderful collection of woodland wildflowers available that includes, Trillium Grandiflorum, Purple Trillium, Yellow Trillium, Virginia Bluebells, Bloodroot, Dutchman’s Breeches, Jack-In-The-Pulpit, Wild Geranium and Shooting Stars. A total of 9 plants costs less than $30.00 and are shipped to you as bare root plants. We planted Virginia Bluebells some years ago and they have really developed. Even the neighbors comment on their vibrant show of blue each spring.
If you’re looking for something to cover a large area, Jung also has a Midwest collection of native flowers. Best suited for areas of full sun, this mix of perennial, biennials and annuals are a great mix that will either reappear each year, or reseed themselves. They’ll also provide tons of food for birds and butterflies. There are some 20 varieties flowers in the mix that sells for about $55.00 per pound.
Again, it’s great to see providers responding to the increased demand for products that are earth friendly and easy to grow.