Spring Beauty

25 03 2010

One of my favorite little spring flowers at Green Spring Gardens is Scilla siberica ‘Spring Beauty’—also known as Spring Beauty Scilla, Wood Squill or Siberian Squill (Liliaceae family). Tiny and delicate bright porcelain blue flowers grow on 4-6 inch stalks from bulbs in early spring in full sun to part shade. Tough and extremely cold hardy (Zones 2-8), this low-maintenance plant naturalizes easily by bulb offshoots and through self-seeding. Until this morning, I had never seen the underside of these shy, downward-facing blooms. The wind had flipped back a few blossoms, revealing their “faces.” I also photographed a white form, ‘Alba.’ Green Spring Gardens also grows a striped squill, Puschkinia libanotica. The website tulipworld.com states that although this striped form is hardly known, it is one of the best bulbs for beginners because it can be grown almost anywhere as long as there is proper drainage. And their price is right, too—40 bulbs for just $9.71—can’t beat that!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.


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Bull Run Bluebells

9 04 2009

For many years I’ve been meaning to go see the Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginica) en masse at Bull Run Regional Park in Manassas about this time of the year. I can now cross that excursion off my list! If you live in Northern Virginia (or thereabouts), there’s an annual Bull Run Bluebell Walk at 2:00 p.m. this Sunday, April 12.

As I mentioned in my earlier posting here, I wanted to avoid the crowds and certainly did. We encountered less than a dozen hikers and photographers on our hike down the Bluebell Trail.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the number of plants in bloom, though, and a bit hard to work around the plethora of trees, trunks, and fallen branches to get that stellar shot. Many of the landscape-with-Bluebell shots I got were more “record” shots than stellar. Michael found a plastic bag in the car (the ground was still quite damp), and we both hunkered down on the ground to get up close and personal with a few perfect specimens. Our positioning also allowed us to discover other plants in bloom: Trout Lilies (Erythronium americanum) and Cutleaf Toothwarts (Dentaria laciniata, a member of the Mustard family, Brassicaceae). From a distance, Cutleaf Toothworts, whose beauty belies their nefarious-sounding name, look very similar to the ‘Spring Beauty’ wildflowers.

We also took along the Interfit 5 in 1 collapsible reflector (translucent portion only) to block the mid-day sun and get more saturated color. I’ve used the reflector in the studio and for outdoor portraits, but since I usually follow the rule of “shoot flowers in early a.m. or late p.m.,” I’ve never used it for this purpose. I don’t know why I didn’t think of it before—I can now shoot flowers even in the worst light of day for flower photography—that mid-day sun!

While researching where best to photograph fields of Bluebells, I stumbled upon Chris Kayler’s posting about them here. Take a look at his Nature Photography Gallery. Chris, a student at Northern Virginia Community College, specializes in nature and wildlife photography, and lives in Manassas. Spectacular work, Chris!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

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‘Spring Beauty’ wildflowers

9 04 2009

These are ‘Spring Beauty’ (Claytonia Virginica) wildflowers that I photographed at Bull Run Regional Park. This perennial herb is a member of the Portulacaceae family and related to the also-edible purslane. Learn more about about this flower’s edible and tasty tubers (who knew?) by reading Scott D. Appell’s article in Plants & Gardens News, published by the Brooklyn Botanic Garden here. These tiny little flowers measure approximately 1/2 inch in diameter and are lightly fragrant. They prefer moist to slightly dry conditions and are planted as corms. These were scattered in clusters among the Bluebells in the park.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

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Spring Beauty

1 04 2009

Scilla siberica ‘Spring Beauty’—also known as Spring Beauty Scilla or Siberian Squill (Liliaceae family). Showy blue flowers bloom from bulbs in April in full sun to part shade. Tough and extremely cold hardy (Zones 2-8), this low-maintenance plant naturalizes easily by bulb offshoots and through self-seeding. Learn more about this flower here. This site states that this particular Squill is great for forcing indoors. Guess what I’m growing indoors next winter!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

blueflowers