It's spring at Clay and Limestone. I know, because it smells like spring...You've smelled it, too, it's the fresh dirt smell that wafts on the breeze on warm spring days. Scientist call the chemical that makes dirt smell fresh geosmin, I call it delicious. We can thank the plant munching bacteria that live in our soil for making it.
And, have you heard the birds? They sing louder and more melodious in the spring.
Oh, it's spring alright! The garden is undergoing a marvelous transformation from brown to green...Over head the elms are budding, the leaves on the St John's wort, Alabama snow wreath and leatherwood are beginning to push out and the spring ephemerals are just about to burst into bloom.
But, let's not rush headlong into a big spring crescendo before we take time to admire our wildflower of the month, Harbinger-of-Spring.
|the diminutive woodland beauty Erigenia bulbosa|
It's the earliest and smallest of the spring flowers. So small, no more than 4 inches tall, that it is easily over looked among the brown leaves on a woodland hillside. The pure white flowers and chocolate colored anthers contrast beautifully and, are clearly, the reason for one of the common names, Pepper and Salt. It blooms early in our woodlands and I wondered if any pollinators are awake to sup on its nectar. According to research, little Carpenter bees, Mason bees, and flower flies visit. It grows in rich moist deciduous woodlands in dappled shade.
|I love this little carrot family member (source*)|
Hardiness Zone:5,6,7 (Eastern Canada, most of eastern US, including OK and AR)
Light: dappled shade
Leaf Color: green
Bloom Time: Feb, Mar, Apr
Soil: acid, neutral, rich, average loam, think not picky!
It is a tiny member of the Carrot (Apiaceae) family, growing from a round tuber and I count myself fortunate when it showed up in my garden a few years back. I dearly wish it were commercially available~it's a lovely little flower and should be in more of our woodland gardens.
Welcome to Clay and Limestone's Wildflower Wednesday celebration. WW is about sharing and celebrating wildflowers from all over this great big, beautiful world. Join us on the fourth Wednesday of each month. Remember, it doesn't matter if they are in bloom or not, and, it doesn't matter if we all share the same plants. It's all about celebrating wildflowers. Please leave a comment when you add your url to Mr Linky.
*Britton, N.L., and A. Brown. 1913. An illustrated flora of the northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions. 3 vols. Charles Scribner's Sons, New York. Vol. 2: 653.
Gail Eichelberger is a gardener and therapist in Middle Tennessee. She loves wildflowers and native plants and thoroughly enjoys writing about the ones she grows at Clay and Limestone. She reminds all that the words and images are the property of the author and cannot be used without written permission.