Mostly Native Spring Ephemera

The previous post dealt with mostly traditional, old-fashioned flowers. This one will cover the native ephemera and Iris cristata, which is native to the US, but not to Michigan, although it thrives here. Oh, yes—and a tiny volunteer rose—I have no idea where it came from. Continue reading “Mostly Native Spring Ephemera”

May Natives: Flashy, Until They’re Not

May is the showiest month in my garden. A lot of flowers bloom, including many natives. Which one is my favorite? The one I am standing in front of at that moment.

Take Dutchman’s breeches, for example. It’s in the same family as bleeding hearts, but far more ephemeral. They started breaking ground the first week of April, were blooming by the beginning of May, and completely gone by the end of May. That’s just two months of the year aboveground.

Dutchman’s breeches, the second early flower in this small flower bed, which they share with daylilies, daffodils, and crocuses. Photographed on May 1, 2022.

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A Lot Can Happen in a Week

We are roughly two weeks behind where we were last year, based on last year’s photographs. Everything I mention in this post was in bloom at this time last year. The weather changes so much from year to year that I cannot tell you which year is closer to normal—or if there is a normal any more.

Weather aside, I love spring ephemera and will search for them doggedly from mid-March on as long as it’s not pouring rain. They are mostly very small, so I have to actually walk away from the window, go outside, and exercise my eyes looking for changes. Changes are rapid, so there is plenty of incentive to go outside frequently.

Dutchman’s breeches, left, and twinleaf , right, erupt from the ground with flower buds. Photographed on April 3, 2022.

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Companions for the Dutchman’s Breeches

My Indian pinks bloom nicely every year, but they do not seem to spread, and they come up awfully late, leaving a bare spot near the Dutchman’s breeches in early spring. 

Indian pinks in bloom. Photographed on June 18, 2018.

Indian pinks emerge about the time that the Dutchman’s breeches start going dormant, so essentially, the bare spot moves over. The answer to this traveling bare spot has been staring me in the face the whole time. Continue reading “Companions for the Dutchman’s Breeches”

Two Plants With Barely Overlapping Schedules

It’s quite remarkable that two perennial plants can coexist right next to each other, but barely overlap in their above-ground time. The two I want to focus on today are Indian pinks and Dutchman’s breeches. Back in mid-May, many spring ephemera were either blooming or done, but there among them were the Indian pinks, just breaking ground.

From left to right: barely showing at the left edge, twinleaf; pointing to this post’s stars are the bright green Iris cristata; the two small clumps of new chartreuse growth are Indian pinks; and the blue-green feathery foliage belongs to the Dutchman’s breeches. Photographed on May 10, 2018.

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Four Plants, Three Weeks: Budbreak to Bloom

We’ve had a very chilly April. While I have not heard anyone mention Alberta clippers lately, I see that the winds still seem to be sweeping down and over through western Canada. I wrote about what I hoped was the final April snow on April 10, which would have been roughly average. We had more snow on April 17, and a week in there somewhere with daily flurries. It’s only 43°F right now, and it’s late morning. The garden is moving slowly, but despite the temperature and some very hungry rabbits, there are flowers blooming.
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Cloudy and 37°F. Again.

We have been stuck in a cold and dreary weather pattern, and I have been poking around for days looking for something beyond Scilla bifolia ‘Rosea’ and snowdrops when the sun peeks out.

Early Spring Bulbs

This year, the snowdrops bloomed first. The squirrels have done a pretty good job of spreading them out.

Photograph of a clump of snowdrops that have bursted through leaf cover and bloomed.
Snowdrops under a woody Caryopteris. Photographed March 25, 2018.

The Scilla bifolia ‘Rosea’ have survived the extremely heavy layer of leaves that I put on their bed in the hopes of tamping down their exuberance.

Scilla bifolia ‘Rosea’ in bloom. Photographed April 2, 2018.

They are really beautiful, but their multiplicative tendencies are positively alarming. They are blooming in the lawn under the silver maple and in a big mass under the witch hazel. Continue reading “Cloudy and 37°F. Again.”

Heat Wave Pushes Spring Ephemera Towards Dormancy

It reached 85°F here yesterday, with very little rain and a relentless breeze that was just dry enough to escape being called muggy. It will be in the mid-80s today and tomorrow—muggy today, and if we are lucky, rain tomorrow.

When it gets over 80°, the spring ephemera start going dormant. Leaves start yellowing and drooping, and obvious signs of putting energy into reproduction appear. Continue reading “Heat Wave Pushes Spring Ephemera Towards Dormancy”

Herbaceous Changes

Things change so fast at this time of year. I’m going to arrange this post by plant, as these photographs were taken over a few days.

Tulipa tarda, a Species Tulip

I was puttering around Saturday morning and spotted these little tulip buds. I was certain it would be a couple of days before they opened.

Tulipa tarda on the morning of April 15, 2017.

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