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