Tuesday, May 6, 2008
Here Today Gone Tomorrow
Spring ephemeral describes a number of perennial woodland wildflowers which develop stems, leaves and flowers in the spring, then bloom, go to seed, decline and eventually disappear underground until the next spring. Here today and gone tomorrow!
Nature is so very clever in allowing these beauties to take advantage of the sunlight warming the forest floors before the shrubs and canopy trees leaf out. We enjoy a wonderful spring exuberance of color and then they disappear; leaving room for summer blooming wildflowers and perennials.
Here are a few from my garden. I wonder if you grow them, too?
Claytonia viginica/Spring Beauty has begun to spread about my yard. I often wondered why it was so prevalent in the neighborhood, but not here at Chez Cedar. Most yards in my neighborhood are covered in Spring Beauties during the first weeks of spring.But not my yard. It could be that the shallow soil isn't inviting to Claytonia or that the previous owner used a pre-emergent weed control or a weed and feed to green up the grass killing them all.
Generous friends have given me plants and I hope they will be happy and expand across the remaining grassy area.
Another early spring ephemeral is Cut leaved Toothwort or Dentaria laciniata.It's a sweet little plant that freely spreads about the gardens. Who cares how many babies they make, when you know they will step aside for later blooming plants.
You can see the yellowing leaves, but more difficult to see are the thread like stems that held the seeds of next Spring's blooming babies.
Shooting Star/Dodecatheon, in the topmost photo, has bloomed its heart out and is now beginning to yellow and set seed. It will quickly disperse its seeds and disappear.
Sanguinaria canadensis/Bloodroot leaves enfold the bloom as it emerges. I almost always miss the flower, a white flower with bright yellow stamens. The rhizome is a bright orange, hence bloodroot.
The Dicentra cucullaria (Dutchman's Breeches) disappearing ....the only evidence after they decline are the corms which I accidentally unearth when weeding or planting. They look like little kernals of corn.
Enemion biternatum or False Rue Anemone forms a ground cover of sweet white flowers early in spring. The leaves are very similar to Columbines, both members of the same family... Ranunculaceae.
Trilliums, may be my favorite spring ephemerals.
Did you know that Trillium seeds are carried away by mice and ants and spread about the garden? Trilliums have a fleshy material attached to seeds called elaiosomes that ants find especially attractive. The ants take the seeds to their nest and eat the elaiosomes. The seeds are then deposited in the ant's garbage area where they are able to germinate in a rich garbage growing medium! Composted by ants!
My Trilliums dance around the wildflower garden and then slowly they will begin to yellow and disappear.
But first they twirl and dance and make a really big show.
He was hiding under the shrubs and grew quite tall! I found him under the branches of a Forsythia; a gift from an ant or a mouse!
Then they yellow and slowly disappear.....
Thanks for stopping by, spring is quickly evolving into summer at Chez Cedar with temperatures in the 80's. Soon the spring bloomers will be replaced by summer's perennials. But aren't we Southern Garden Bloggers lucky! We get to experience spring all over again with our Northern friends.
In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt. ~Margaret Atwood