May 09, 2018

Garden 'Firsts' I'm Glad I Didn't Miss

ephemerals
Clockwise, from lower left: Aquilegia canadensis, Sanguinaria canadensis, Viola sororia, Mertensia virginica, Enemion biternatum, Podophyllum peltatum, Claytonia virginica

Leaving a Midwestern garden in early May can be likened to leaving a young toddler with Grandma and Grandpa for a few days: You'll likely miss a few "firsts." In the case of the garden, that can mean quite a few first blooms of the growing season.

I traveled to Austin for the Garden Bloggers Fling recently, and when I came back I took stock of the garden's progress. Fortunately, I returned just in time for some early growing season highlights. I missed the quick spread of the Mayapples in the woodland, but I found many spring ephemerals at peak bloom or preparing for it, some shown above.

trilliums
Clockwise, l to r: Trillium grandiflorum, T. erectum, T. grandiflorum, T. sessile

Some of the Trilliums were flowering or near bloom, including a Sessile Wake-Robin, which I've never seen in the garden before. It was smack-dab in the middle of the lawn, so I had to rescue it before the fishman mowed the grass!

daffodils
Narcissus hybrids

A few Daffodils were still blooming.

ferns
Matteuccia struthiopteris

While many of the Ostrich Ferns were upright and unfurled, I found plenty of tight fiddleheads to sauté for supper.

crabapples
Malus hybrids

The Crabapples were about to pop, and are at peak bloom now.

epimediums
Left to right: Epimedium x warleyense, Epimedium x rubrum

Fairy Wings (Epimediums) were just opening.

blooms
Clockwise from left: Prunus glandulosa, Convallaria majalis, Cercis canadensis,
Clematis 'Nellie Moser'

I caught the Flowering Almond just before the rain washed away its petals, while the Lily-of-the-Valley, Redbud, and Clematis were about to burst into bloom.

So much happens here in May that it's hard to leave, even for a few days. But it was worth it! I had an amazing time at the Garden Bloggers Fling. Highlights from that very special event to come soon!

30 comments:

  1. You are the first person that I know that eats those fiddleheads.
    How do you fix them? Butter, Olive Oil? Can you describe the flavor? I know what you mean by not wanting to leave the garden in spring. It is hard to tear yourself away but I know you had a good time. I can't wait to read all about it.

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    1. It took me many years to get up the nerve to try them, and now I forage and eat them every May. Here's a description and safety information: https://fearlesseating.net/fiddleheads/. I steam them for 10 minutes, and then lightly saute in olive oil, butter, and garlic.

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    2. now I feel less sheepish about eyeing my asparagus fern - which is also edible - in theory.

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    3. I have a woods full of them and I've never eaten them either. Maybe I will see if I can find some that are still tiny, although with the deluge this week I sort of doubt it.

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    4. Diana: It's always a little nervy to eat foraged plants the first time. Asparagus fern...do you know what genus/species? I know there are several plants by that common name, and my understanding is that A. densiflorus is not edible, while A. officinalis is. Same with ferns: I don't know how many are edible, but I know that Matteuccia struthiopteris in its furled form is edible.

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    5. Erin: The Ostrich Ferns are so prevalent around here, aren't they? I don't know if other ferns are edible, but I know that Matteuccia struthiopteris ferns are. Yes, the rain today was wicked!

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  2. I have to admit I've never eaten fiddle heads. Lots of Spring happenings in your garden and woods. Looks lovely.

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    1. Thanks, Linda. Yes, it seems to be happening fast now, isn't it? Everything seems to be blooming at once. And the air is intoxicating with the scent of blooming crabapples!

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  3. Love seeing your spring gems.
    Looks like you are further along than we are . . .
    We have large patches of Yellow Cintonia . . .
    A first for the little yelow flowers, always the green leafed patches,,
    a surprise to see the flowers.
    Happy Bloom Days . . .

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    1. Hi Lynne: Those Clintonias are lovely! It seems like everything is blooming at once now!

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  4. Beth! How did we miss meeting in Austin?!!!

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    1. Oh gosh, Kris! I had made a note of the fact that you were going to be there, but then somehow we missed each other. Darn. Will you be in Denver next year? I hope so! :)

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  5. wonderful spring flowers, are really love those fairy wings and what about eating fiddleheads of ferns......I never heard about that. Interesting but I don't know if I'm going to try.

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    1. The Fairy Wings are sweet. I feel like I need to lay flat on my back and stare up into them for a few minutes. ;-) Re: the fiddleheads ... I'm always very careful to make sure I have a positive ID on the foraged edible before I eat it. I was sure several years before I got up the nerve with the fiddleheads. But I'm glad I finally tried them. They're delish!

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  6. so glad I did not miss this post Beth - thanks for sharing the delights of your Spring garden. I have a soft spot for Epimediums though they take a lot of lingering looks to find and appreciate.
    Your sessile Wake Robin made me consider the meaning as we have sessile oaks so I looked it up though you probably know it means "attached directly by its base without a stalk or peduncle". Glad I got the see the bloom popping straight out and up before the fishman got to it

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    1. Hi Laura: Glad you stopped by! I agree about the Epimediums...I feel like I should spend more time really studying them. They're so dainty and graceful. On the sessile Trillium, yes, that's my understanding, too. I've long admired the species, and I can't believe a volunteer just showed up in the middle of the lawn!

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  7. Hi Beth,
    I understand your reluctance to leave your garden! I feel like that all growing season.
    You came home to some really beautiful blooms. It looks like we have the same things blooming except, I'm waiting for the Clematis. Happy gardening!

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    1. Hi Sally: I have more trouble leaving the garden in May than any other time. Things happen so fast, and the ephemerals...well, you know...they're ephemeral. ;-) But really, I'd be thrilled to be a home-body gardener from March through October. My favorite time to travel away from here is February. Rotten month in Wisconsin!

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  8. May is such a busy time for plants and it is difficult to tear oneself away from such beauty. Fortunately your toddlers were still displaying some of their firsts for you upon your return. Looking forward to seeing your posts about the fling!

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    1. Yes, the toddlers cooperated this time! ;-) I need to get organized with the Fling coverage. Unfortunately the return home is happening at such a busy gardening time of year and I'll be tied up with family stuff through the weekend. No complaints, but I need to keep the Fling stuff fresh in my mind. ;-)

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  9. Had fiddlehead ferns for the first time (I think) in NYC at a very fancy restaurant a few weeks ago.

    That's the only time I've ever seen them on a plate or a menu.

    Looks like you're cooking up some mighty fancy food yourself! ;)

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    1. Awesome! So I guess that means I have classy taste. ;-) Or a backyard full of Ostrich Ferns. They were delicious and I picked enough for two meals.

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  10. Beautiful sights!! I created two bouquets using my ferns. Both customers were in such awe of the beauty of a spring fern. ;-)

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    1. Great idea! I haven't had as much luck with the Ostrich Ferns--they seem to wilt fast. But some of my other ferns work well in arrangements. :)

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  11. I always worry about what I'm going to miss during the week while I'm away. I can see that we love many of the same woodland natives, though I don't have the Mayapple, or the Enomion or Claytonia. How do you cook the fiddleheads? We have lots of Ostrich Ferns but we have never tried to eat the fiddleheads!

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    1. All the woodland ephemerals were here when we moved in, with the exception of the VA Bluebells (now eaten by rabbits for this year) and the new Sessile Trillium. For the fiddleheads, I steam them for 10 minutes and then lightly saute them in olive oil, butter, and garlic. Yum!

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  12. What an apropos post! I left the crocuses, 2 primroses, single bloodroots and budding tiarella. When we returned from Austin I ran around like a crazy person taking photos of the grape hyacinths, bed of primroses, wandering tiarellas, a blooming weeping cherry, bleeding hearts, a fothergilla and a flat of zinnias that had decided to bloom. What a welcome home!

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    1. I know, right?! So much happens in a day this time of year, let alone several days! And now you're traveling again soon. Hopefully, you'll get everything in and have time to enjoy some days of spring before heading out again. :)

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  13. So glad you didn't miss all these beautiful blooms! It's so hard to leave home this time of year because every day is different. I remember visiting my daughter in Dallas one April. When we left, only a few daffs were blooming, but when we arrived home, all the tulips were blooming--it was quite a sight. Looking forward to hearing more about Austin!

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  14. I am happy you were able to see these firsts....they are so special!

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