Friday, May 8, 2009

Wildflower Way


Two years ago, I finally got tired of seeing the water lay in the grassy area between our trellis and the neighbor's hedge. Rain would fall, and the water would pool in this low area and even overflow into the trellis garden. The Heucheras were floating for their lives and I knew this just couldn't be good.

So I grabbed my shovel and the wheelbarrow, and began skimming grass and soil from the narrow path. When I got it graded to the point where any extra rainwater would run to the valley I'd created, I shoveled in some small rocks we had in a pile out by the garden. I'd been wanting to get rid of those rocks anyway and they were perfect for my purpose here.


A couple of days after I'd completed the dry bed, we got a torrential rain. I wondered how well my design would work and the results couldn't have been better! The water still pooled in the same area, but it was more evenly distributed and no more muddy, soppy grass. The heucheras no longer had to tread water! The rocks and stepping stones allowed the water to drain away while still enabling us to walk through without being ankle-deep in it.


Creating this area somehow gave me an idea for planting something on the neighbor's side of the strip. A quick question to Neighbor Tom secured the permission I needed and I began to ponder just what I wanted to plant there. Let's see...shady...moist...woodsy...

And Wildflower Way was born.


Over the months and couple of years since then, we've collected and purchased wildflowers of all types - all native to Ohio (and other states). Mostly they have come from our forays to the woods around us, but a few have arrived from friends who want to share their treasures with us, as well as nurseries that carry natives.


Though Giant White Trillium (Trillium grandiflorum) is Ohio's official wildflower, our nearby woods only has the T. sessile, or Toadshade Trillium, which is burgundy. My friend Alison, who lives and gardens in New York, shared a few plants with me last year.


Hated by some because of their invasive nature, I love Common Blue Wood Violets (Viola sororia).


A recent acquisition is this lone White Violet (Viola sp.).


Ohio's woods contain native Foamflower (Tiarella cordifolia) , and this one was found in southeastern Ohio. I thought it was a native Heuchera until it bloomed this spring. Its flower gave its ID away.


Woodland Phlox (Phlox divaricata) is plentiful, in both lavender and white forms. The fragrance this gives off is unbelievable and one of the strongest floral scents in the woods.


I had to look this one up, because the foliage had me stumped. It had the shiny yellow flower petals of a Lesser Celandine and the Marsh Marigold, but the foliage told me it was a Hispid Buttercup (Ranunculus hispidus).


Lots of natives here: Mayapples (Podophyllum peltatum), Toadshade Trillium (Trillium sessile), Wild geraniums (Geranium maculatum), Dutchman's Breeches (Dicentra culcullaria), and Star of Bethelehem (Ornithogalum umbellatum).


Last year, Romie and I went to my hometown and walked the abandoned railroad bed, where we found this beautiful Wild Geranium (Geranium maculatum). We dug some and brought it back home. A short time later, I broke out with the worst case of poison ivy I've ever had. Oops! Didn't see that when I was digging!


Dwarf Crested Iris (Iris cristata), acquired in the mountains of Arkansas on a vacation several years ago. This has multiplied well.


Dog's Tooth Violet a.k.a. Trout Lily a.k.a. Adder's Tongue (Erythronium americanum) grows in abundance in a nearby woods. Rarely, we will see a yellow one.


Spring Beauty is everywhere. Claytonia virginica, too.


Dutchman's Breeches (Dicentra cucullaria)


Though it is native to Ohio, Robert Henn in Wildflowers of Ohio says Virginia Bluebells are mostly absent in the northwestern counties of the state. I'd agree, if our woods-walking experience can be considered normal, although we found a huge drift of them growing along a riverbank near Ottawa.


One of my very favorite wildflowers is Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis). The blooms are gorgeous, the foliage is quirky, and the red roots even moreso.


You've probably seen Wild Ginger (Asarum canadense) growing in the woods, but have you bothered to lift its velvety heart-shaped leaves to look at the blooms? They're one of the woodland wildflower's best-kept beauty secrets!


I'm growing some Jack-in-the-Pulpits (Arisaema triphyllum) from seeds that came from my mom's, but it will be a couple of years before those bloom. I purchased one a few years ago that comes up every year and blooms, just to make me get on my hands and knees to take a look and bow in awe.


As much as I love all my hybrid perennials, nothing thrills me more than watching my woodland wildflowers grow, bloom, and naturalize in my garden - unless it would be seeing them in nature, where God planted them.


10 comments:

Lisa at Greenbow said...

What a great collection of wildflowers Kylee. Our Jack doesn't have so much color in his hood. Happy Mothers Day.

Creative Country Mom said...

Great collection there! I have quite a few myself. It is always nice to have something different, and yes, free is best. I agree they are very worth the trouble finding them! Hugs...Brooke

Layanee said...

Such diversity and welcome color. The trilliums are wonderful aren't they?

Christi said...

What a lovely idea - it looks great!

maryquitecontrary said...

I'm so sorry you lost your friend. One of the beautiful things about sharing flowers is remembering our loved ones when they bloom, and you'll always have Helen in your gardens.

Muum said...

these make me homesick for Ohio. And I looove the violets, of any and every color!

jodi (bloomingwriter) said...

Oh, blissful, Kylee./ YOu're still ahead of me, but I AM starting to gain some ground...a number of plants are blooming, and others are poking their heads through. I don't want to rush things though, because I'm getting futher and further behind.

oh, and belated Happy Mom's Day, fellow Mom...(((((((Kylee))))))

mlc said...

Ohh,, and I saw foamflower. I didn't know what it was--like you I was wondering if it was a Heuchera or a Lady's Mantle. My goodness.

Connie said...

wow, nice assortment of plants. We have the yellow variety of Dog tooth violets here. I love the charm of Dutchman's breeches. Pressed and dried they make perfect butterflies!

Wayne Stratz said...

great flowers. I have trilliums which I planted under a dogwood which is in the center of a large bed at work. almost no one sees them unless I point them out.

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