Thursday, April 22, 2010

Rebirth-- Spring in New England

I had a wonderful visit to St. John, USVI, with all of its lush vegetation and quiet beaches, but you can’t beat coming back to springtime in New England. After 5+ months of grayness, color has popped out everywhere. All that new foliage is fresh and green and many of the trees and shrubs are blooming. As Laurrie commented in a recent blog post ‘The Thrill is Gone’ . We in zone 5 and below have to wait longer than many – but experiencing the rebirth first hand sure beats looking a pictures.

Here’s a look at some of the native plants that are coming out around my house in the past few days.

The common blue violet, which I used to battle against until I learned that it was a native species, was popping up through my unmown lawn. Eastern columbine is about to bloom. This one is the result of self seeding. I also caught this sweetfern in bloom with the small red female flower below the male catkins.  This little flower is really easy to miss.

In my ‘woodland’ garden there are a number of perennials returning. This garden is under a Norway Maple, so it is hardly a natural environment for these plants, but the ones that grow here are tough competitors.

Best results go to the Wild Bleeding Heart, which is actually expanding its bounds. Lowbush blueberry is blooming well this year. The Twinleaf and Bellwort have been coming back for 3-4 years now, with some indication that they are beginning to spread. Last year I was fortunate to capture the Twinleaf in bloom. The intense white flowers only last a day, but the foliage alone can carry the show.  There are also a variety of native ferns putting up their fiddleheads.

Coming soon are the huckleberry and barren strawberry. I’ll get to those later.


Curbstone Valley Farm said...

A lovely spring show. I think I've been trying to get to know my natives so I don't have to pull as many 'weeds' :P I let the Miner's lettuce go this year, and it was everywhere! Your violets are so pretty, and I've never met a bleeding heart I didn't like. As for the Sweetfern, I'm quite sure I would have missed that little red flower.

. . . Lisa and Robb . . . said...

Ah, the beauty of a New England spring...

Laurrie said...

Thanks for the reference to my post! I love how you noticed the tiny male and female flowers on the little comptonia. I tried to grow sweetfern but lost all of my transplants. You must have yours in very sandy soil, which I think they need. I might try again, it's a really nice plant and I want to see those cute flowers. Happy New England Spring ... and this one's a doozy!

Curtis said...

My Comptonia is growing in a small grassy strip next to my driveway. Not the ideal conditions for this plant; however, most of my soil is pretty fast draining.

There are a lot of neat native plants that prefer poor soil conditions and they just don't do that well in the 'improved' soil found around many residential sites.

Christine B. said...

I have nothing quite so charming as blue violets growing in my lawn. I would be grateful for dandelions at this point: all is under snow.

Christine in Alaska

Curtis said...

As I wrote this post I was thinking about your Alaskan garden and the delayed gratification you all must experience up there.

Ellen Sousa said...

Nice to see these pics of some of our lovely wild flowers...and happy that you also leave the wild violets alone instead of trying to nuke them out of your lawn! Violets are the sole food plant for fritillary butterfly caterpillars, another reason to leave them be..Good also to know that wild bleeding heart can tolerate the conditions under Norway Maple. I always cringe when new clients tell me they want to grow plants under Norway Maples...not easy, and they never seem to like the advice to cut 'em all down :-) Thanks for sharing your photos!