Then last year, on the way to the Cincinnati Flower Show, we stopped at Grandma's Gardens, where I found some Hepatica. I bought it. It was past its bloom time, so no blooms for me from that one. I'd have to wait, but at least I had some Hepatica.
But my luck got even better when we went walking through the woods belonging to friends and I came upon patch after patch of it! I couldn't believe it - there was so much of it and our friends said we could take whatever we wanted. I didn't want to be greedy...well...okay, so I wanted to, but even if I had been, there was no way I could have taken all that was there. There was that much of it. I took a few little clumps and brought it home to put in the wildflower garden. Again, it was past bloom time, so once more I didn't get to see its precious little flowers.
As I was walking the gardens a few weeks ago, checking to see what was coming up and what wasn't, I noticed the Hepatica clumps and was discouraged because the foliage looked dead as a doornail with no signs of life. I was doomed to never have Hepatica of my own.
But all things come to those who wait long enough, and about a week ago, I walked past the wildflower garden and noticed some pale lavender blooms. BLOOMS! The foliage still looked brown and crispy but those sweet little Hepatica plants were covered in blooms!
I ran for the camera to capture their innocence before they disappeared.
Hepatica nobilis Schreb. var. acuta
Hepatica comes in different colors and while I was hoping for blue, beggars can't be choosers, and I'm quite content with my pale lavender ones. But as I learned on Twitter, from Gerry Williamson, of USWildflowers Journal, Hepatica color can be variable. They can be white, and shades of pink, lavender, or even deep blue, with pure white being the most common. You can find plants of one color next to those of another, with no real explanation as to why.
I simply adore the spring ephemeral wildflowers and soon, the Hepatica blooms will be gone. Their petals are already falling on the ground below. By midsummer, their fascinating foliage will go dormant and we won't be graced with their presence until another spring. But they're worth waiting for.
Lily seems to adore Hepatica blooms, too. Or maybe she just likes them because I do. She's my shadow when I'm out in the yard or garden.
Photo of Hepatica foliage from http://www.webresults.net/gardener/FOREST-SPECIES.htm