Thursday, June 01, 2006

Early stages of a wild shade garden





I was so taken by the sudden appearance of the bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis) after two years in the ground that I was tempted to look for more wild plants. It is strange how some plants can affect you... There were several vendors on Ebay selling bloodroot and other interesting looking plants cheaply so I bought some. I just hope they are propagating these and not collecting from the wild. Some say they are doing just that but who knows? We have an ideal woodland environment under several redbud trees which needed some shade plants so I went a little overboard and bought several.

We also planted trout lillies (Erythronium americanum) (dog tooth lillies) two years ago at the same time we bought the bloodroot but they didn't come up so I bought more. I also bought bird's-foot violets aka crowfoot violets (Viola pedata), more bloodroot, round leafed hepatica also known as round lobed liverleaf (Hepatica americana) the shape and color of the leaves look like liver - actually more like kidney to my mind (looking at the photo it seems I got the sharp-lobed hepatica instead H. acutiloba, I guess you can't go by the description of the Ebay vendors, oh well) , twin leaf aka rheumatism root (Jeffersonia diphylla) named after Thomas Jefferson, and spotted wintergreen (Chimaphila maculata) a little evergreen plant with white striped leaves, not spotted despite it's common name. I was given some jack in the pulpits by one of the sellers because they didn't think the birds foot violets were up to their standards. The rhizomes of the violets were tiny but it was already sprouting leaves so the jacks were a bonus. There are some kind and generous people out there not always after the buck.

The hepatica, violets, twin leaf and jacks are already in ground. The hepatica, several already leafed out, are trying to become upright after the travel and transplant shock. The others were either in bulb, corm or rhizome form and have yet to sprout out of the ground.

I look forward to seeing this new woodland garden. These plants will join the already existing Canadian ginger Asarum canadense, some Japanese painted ferns Athyrium 'Silver Falls', Solomon's seal Polygonatum x hybridum, volunteer Labrador violet Viola labradorica and a bunch of anemones.

Photos are of Lab. violet, Solomon's seal, Canadian ginger and sharp-lobed Hepatica.

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