Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Sweet Hepatica of Mine

From the time I first laid eyes on a Hepatica bloom, I was smitten. I didn't see it in person, only a photograph.  I walked the woods near us, year after year, hoping to find some, since it's a native spring wildflower here.  Its distinctive foliage would give it away, even if I didn't time it right to see its bloom. But no Hepatica was to be found.

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.

 Sharp-lobed Hepatica
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


CanadianGardenJoy said...

Kylee those are such gorgeous little gems aren't they ? I would like to have a few here too .. and since I have more shade happening they might be perfect in that side of my garden .. I totally love the picture of Lily with them .. looks like she is smelling them and in heaven with the scent ? LOL

Janet, The Queen of Seaford said...

This is a wildflower I don't know. What a sweet bloom. Happy that you have had some blooms this year. With your new acquisitions next year will be full of blooms!!!!

Gail said...

They were brilliant in my garden...Pinkish, but no blue! Maybe it was the rain or the chillier then usual winter...I think the garden was gifting me. Lily looks so happy and as if she's checking for fragrance....gail

Commonweeder said...

Kylee - those are beautiful flowers. I think we learn to be more appreciative of every moment when we come to love the most ephemeral flowers.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

I can just see you lying on the ground sniffing the flowers and then Lily thinks, Yes I need to do that too. ;) I can see why you like these spring beauties as much as you do. All the spring flowers give us such hope for a long warm summer.

Diana said...

Kylee - I can see why you were so diligent in your search for your own Hepatica. Those blooms are just too sweet. So funny that Lily doesn't want to share the spotlight with them!

Kylee Baumle said...

Joy ~ Lily is in heaven no matter what she does. She is the sweetest little thing. Well, not so little anymore. But she's very playful and loves to be wherever I am. :-) Yes, you definitely need some Hepatica!

Janet ~ I think I read that they spread by reseeding, so hopefull, I will have more next year! :-)

Gail ~ I don't know if they're fragrant or not. I didn't check. Maybe Lily knows something I don't!

Commonweeder ~ I simply adore the spring ephemerals! It's just one of the things I love about spring. It seems that things that are fleeting can be the most precious. Like life itself.

Lisa ~ Actually I haven't sniffed them! But you can be sure I will when I get home from work tonight!

Diana ~ You can tell they made me happy, can't you? :-) Yes, Lily is a sweetie!

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

Hepatica are wonderful plants. I've noticed that on a single plant, the flower color can change from year to year and even over the course of blooming, starting out white and ending up pale lavender. I usually cut off the old foliage before it blooms so as to better see the flowers.

Peg Wiggins said...

Aren't they lovely? And the anticipation is great when those first fuzzy buds come poking up outta the soil!
40 years ago this spring I noticed Hepatica in the woods for the very first time. And knowing that I couldn't just 'have' them, I went to the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum when they had a fund-raising sale and bought 2 plants. They had the typical lavender/pink blossoms.
And every spring for 39 years they are the first of the spring ephemerals to bloom here in my NW Wisconsin shady garden.
Shortly after buying my first plants my brother bought a small cabin on land in Northern Wisconsin; and there were Hepatic by the hundreds on it. He encouraged me to 'take whatever you want'.
So I did dig & bring back home with me several more plants. Luckily for me they had different colored blossoms. Some are a deeper shade of rosy pink and a couple are bluish. However there are a few that are almost white in color.
My original plants were the Sharp-lobed; but the ones dug here in Wisconsin are almost all Round-lobed Hepatica (Hepatica americana).
And, yes Kylee, they seed all too readily.
You could easily end up with a carpet of Hepatica. :)
Transplanting is a delicate procedure as they are so tiny & wiry single root could easily be broken.
And if I can, I'll try to gather some of the seeds from the blue ones for you.
Posted a photo of the blue Hepatica on my blog at:
Good luck with your Hepatica,

Kristi said...

Lovely flowers, they are such a delicate pastel color. I want to rub that little cats belly. So adorable.

Corner Gardener Sue said...

Hi Kylee,
I don't think I've heard of that flower. It sure is pretty! I'm glad you found some for your garden.

Dirty Girl Gardening said...

You know I have never planted this before... I may have to go hunt some down and try it! Cheers!

Garden Lily said...

Very sweet! I'd be smitten by them too.

Finding My Green Thumb said...

Wow..these Hepatica's are very pretty..mental note: grow these in the future..I'm glad they bloomed for you and i hope they will continue to do so!

bg_garden said...

I love how the kitty is enjoying the blooms! Happy Spring

garden girl said...

I can see why you were lusting after them Kylee - very pretty!

Nutty Gnome said...

Those hepatica are so lovely - Well worth the wait!

I've never come across them before as I don't think we have them over here, so I'm just going to live vicariously through your post instead!!! :)

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