Spring’s Wildflower Bounty
There are not yet many flowers in bloom in my garden, but this is prime season for the spring wildflowers that grow at the edges of the woodlands around my garden. So this month I’m joining Gail at Clay and Limestone in celebration of Wildflower Wednesday.
There are several wildflowers that grow in my garden at this time of year. I’m quite happy to let clumps of sweet white violets (Viola blanda) grow where they seed themselves on the back slope. Wild strawberries (Fragaria virginiana), which love the glacial sand of my neighborhood, also grow on the back slope – as well as in many other places on my property. Bluets (Houstonia caerulea) bloom in clumps in open, sunny spots.
In addition to these obvious wildflower denizens of my garden, however, there are other wildflowers that will reveal themselves if you look more closely. The Canada mayflowers (Maianthemum canadense), while tiny, are easy to see because they grow in large mats at the edges of the woods and in open spots on the forest floor. Despite their name, these flowers don’t usually appear here until June. This year, however, our long cold winter has been followed by an unusually warm spring, and the mayflowers have actually bloomed in May. Where you find Canada mayflower on my property, you will usually also find it’s companion, the diminutive starflower (Trientalis borealis).
|Although those strawberry look-alikes, the barren strawberries (Waldsteinia fragarioides) are trying to blend in among the strawberries, their yellow flowers give them away.|
|Much harder to see are the white-green flowers of wild sarsaparilla (Aralia nudicaulis), as they peek out from under the shade of their overhanging leaves.|
A bit further afield from my garden, this is also the time of year when the walk down my dirt road to the mailbox rewards close attention. There I found (clockwise from bottom right) a clump of blue-eyed grass (Sisyrinchium augustifolium), unidentified small blue violets, the lovely yellow-green flowers of blue-bead lily (Clintonia borealis), and a white version of gaywings (Polygala paucifolia). Best of all, I found several specimens of that elusive woodland beauty, the pink lady’s slipper (Cypripedium acaule).
Soon these spring wildflowers will fade, yielding pride of place to cultivated perennials growing in flower beds. Right now, however, their blooms provide a delightful preview of the garden season.