Monday, April 2, 2007

Stopping By Woods on a Balmy Evening

"Whose woods these are,

I think I know.
His house is in the village though..."
- Robert Frost

The Virginia Bluebells (
Mertensia virginica) we transplanted last spring have returned. Two springs ago, we noticed a huge drift of them on a riverbank while geocaching and last spring, we went back to that place and chose a few for relocating to the shady part of our yard. We picked them randomly, so as to not disturb the esthetics of the original location. They were in a very remote place, and it's a shame that so few people will ever see them.

The soil where we found the bluebells was, as you can imagine, black and loose and incredibly organically rich. I would have gladly left every single bluebell there if I could have just trucked all that soil directly to my garden. But alas, I'll have to make do with my amended clay stuff. I wondered how the bluebells would do in it, but there they are.

Since the bluebells and trillium are emerging in my yard, I figured the wildflowers in the Oklahoma Woods were as well. Oklahoma is what we call the woods that's located about half a mile south of our house and in the spring, the floor is just covered with native wildflowers.

In the 29 springs we have spent in this house, we only discovered the wildflowers two years ago. We just never walked through there at the right time of the year to see them! Geocaching has gotten us out into the woods and it was during some of these treks that we began to take notice of the beautiful native plants we have. And of course, my interest in flowers in general didn't begin until about that time.

Tonight was a beautiful spring evening and Romie and I went to Oklahoma to see what was in bloom.

It's a little bit early, so the only things really blooming were the
Dutchman's Breeches (Dicentra cucullaria) and the Spring Beauty (Claytonia virginica). We could see the Trillium (Trillium sessile) teasing us with its magenta buds, but nothing fully open yet.

The woodland floor was literally covered with spotted T
rout lily (Erythronium americanum) foliage. I dug a few of these last spring for one of my flower beds and they are emerging in that bed now, too. Their name comes from the brown-mottled foliage, which vaguely resembles the speckled skin of brook trout. Though we saw lots of Trout lilies, very few will bloom. Only the plants with two leaves will eventually have the characteristic yellow bloom. Most have single leaves and are too young yet for flowering. Trout lilies are also called Dog-tooth violets, because of the shape of their corms.

Scattered here and there were some wild geraniums (
Geranium maculatum) and wood violets (Viola sororia). It's early for those yet, so we'll return time and again to look for their blooms. We'll also keep our eyes open for other Ohio native wildflowers that may show themselves. The environment in this woods is ripe for all kinds, since it has marshy ground as well as higher and drier spots and sunny as well as shady.


Sisah said...

I really enjoyed that trip through north american wilderness and to have a look at all these preciuos plants in their natural habitat.These plants are all species they would never grow in my sandy alkaline soil here in Nothern Germany. I once tried 'Dutchmen´s Breeches' but they disapperared for ever.
I hope you will continue that kind of walks, because I´d love to see all these Trout lilies blooming!

Unknown said...

So interesting that the woodland flowers in my post and the woodland flowers in your post are within walking distance of each other... and are yet so different! I have never seen trout lilies or dutchman's breeches behind my parents' house, and we have many trillium grandiflorium but very few trillium sessile. I do recognize that vernal pool in your last post, though. Those were the kinds of places we were scope out to watch for frogs. :)

kate said...

Boy the Dutchman's breeches brings back some good memories ... I had some appear one spring in my garden. Since I hadn't planted them, I figure they had arrived tucked in another plant pot.

Trout lilies are so pretty ... and Virginia bluebells... I adore their flowers. I can actually grow them here. (Of course, nothing is up at all since our temperatures have been so cold these past weeks. I am trying to get lots of reading done because I know once the garden starts to come up, I will want to be outside all day long!)

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