April 22, 2020

White Trout Lilies for Wildflower Wednesday

trout lily 1

Last spring, while hiking in a favorite county park, I happened upon a colony of White Trout Lilies (Erythronium albidum). I'd been to that park dozens (100s?) of times over the years, but I hadn't visited that sweet little section during the early spring, until last year. What a beautiful sight to see--the forest floor was literally carpeted with the dainty white blooms.

trout lily 2

That section of the park has become a favorite destination, and I was thrilled to see the speckled foliage of these exquisite ephemerals emerging a couple of weeks ago; then flowering this week. This species of Erythronium is commonly found in low, deciduous woods; thickets; floodplains; and prairies in the early spring. Native to many areas of Eastern North America, it prefers part shade or shade, but in deciduous forests with plenty of spring sunshine.

I've noticed this plant is plentiful in the wooded section of the park very near a low spot next to the lake, while absent in the wooded hilly sections further from the shore, so it appears to need plentiful moisture.

trout lily 3

The one-inch, nodding flowers remind me of little caps, with curled petals and shy yellow stamens that extend down from the center. The blooms hang low off short, slender stalks. One of the first native ephemerals to bloom in the spring, the flowers close up at night and open in the morning.

trout lily 4

One thing I did notice, comparing last year's photos to this year's, is that the flowers seem to have more color when they first bloom, and fade to a stunning translucent, linen-like white with time. I don't really have favorite flowers, but...what can I say...this one is exquisite.

I'm joining in Gail's Wildflower Wednesday. Head on over to her blog, Clay and Limestone to read about other amazing wildflowers. And Happy Earth Day!

April 15, 2020

A Bit of a Nip on This Garden Bloggers Bloom Day


My USDA zone 5a garden is in a strange state of flux. We had a rather mild winter and March, so many plants were taking off. Now it's bitter cold for several days, with nighttime lows around 24F/-4C.

These photos were taken before the winds, pounding rains, and bitter cold hit. The Daffodils (Narcissus spp.) are doing OK--they've been blooming for a couple of weeks now. In fact, the cold weather is holding their blooms longer.

Glory of the Snow

Little patches of Glory of the Snow (Scilla forbesii) here and there have been so cheery and affirming.

Blue Squill

The Blue Squill (Scilla siberica), barely had a chance to break bud. But that blue color!

Helleborus 1

Hellebores, including this unknown Helleborus orientalis hybrid can take the tough weather conditions. They're a bit battered around, but they'll be OK.

Helleborus 2

Another Hellebore hybrid.

Sandy Shores Bud

This Hellebore 'Sandy Shores' is a new one for me, and the buds are almost as pretty as the blooming flowers.

Sandy Shores

Here's 'Sandy Shores' just about to bloom. The flower has a slightly warmer color tone than some of my other Hellebores.

Blushing Bridesmaid

Yet another Hellebore, 'Blushing Bridesmaid', seems to be appropriately taking her time to bloom. I'm really looking forward to seeing this one, too, because it's a double-petaled bloomer.


I was shocked to see that the Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis) was blooming in the woods. Poor little buddies--I'm sure they're pummeled and depetaled by now.  The Wild Ginger (Asarum canadense) is up, too, but I didn't get photos of the flowers yet.

I'm sure my May Bloom Day will be much more optimistic and floriferous. Until then, make sure to check out other posts for Garden Bloggers Bloom Day, hosted by Carol at May Dreams Gardens.

April 04, 2020

Shared Grace and Savored Grace

Pollinator on Crocus vernus 'Pickwick'

It's that time of year when blog posts are out of date by the time I get them up and published. These photos are from two days ago, and some of these blooms are fading now. It's also the time of year, in my climate, when plants that bloom in a more staggered timeline in a warmer climate bloom all at once here in the north (USDA zone 5a).

galanthus 'flore pleno'
Galanthus nivalis  'Flore Pleno'

Galanthus nivalis

Eranthus hyemalis

Blooms considered winter flowers in the south (Snowdrops and Winter Aconites) must wait until March or April to bloom here.

Crocus tommasinianus

Because of our cool temperatures but plenty of sun, the 'Tommie' Crocuses have been blooming for about a week now.

crocus vernus 1
Crocus vernus

crocus vernus 2
C. vernus

The larger Dutch Crocuses are blooming at the same time as the "earlier" flowers. (I find it fascinating how the same flower can look very different when photographed at different times of day, in different light, and from different angles.)

crocus vernus 'pickwick'
C. vernus 'Pickwick'

These striped beauties are in a very sunny spot. They appear to be multiplying and they seem to be favorites of the pollinators. I keep lava rocks and foil around them to discourage squirrels and chipmunks from digging, and rabbits from eating.

narcissus 'tete-a-tete'
Narcissus 'Tete-a-Tete'

The tiny Daffodils are at their peak.

Trumpet Narcissus

Larger Narcissus are just beginning.

Hyacinthus orientalis

It won't be long for the Hyacinths.

helleborus 'sandy shores'
Helleborus 'Sandy Shores'

Finally, the Hellebores definitely will be blooming today. This one, from two days ago, is a first bloom on a new plant for me: I'll look forward to its open face within hours. The other Hellebores, in a different spot, started opening yesterday.

During these difficult times, sharing our plant-love and gardening joys is more important than ever. That is our shared grace. On the day that I photographed these first flowers, I saw my first butterfly of the season. My heart jumped and I smiled, even though no one was looking. I didn't have my camera handy, and I wasn't able to follow it, so I don't know if it was a Mourning Cloak or an Eastern Comma, because it fluttered up and away too fast. But it was a sign of hope. It was a savored grace.