Japanese Bleeding Heart

19 05 2011

Japanese Bleeding Heart (Dicentra spectabilis) is a perennial that prefers partial sun to full shade. A good plant for naturalizing, it works well in woodland settings and should be divided every three years. Photographed at Green Spring Gardens in Alexandria, Virginia

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

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Woodland wildflower

30 04 2009

I haven’t a clue as to what type of flower this is! Any takers? I photographed it in the Nature Trail and Wildflower Garden at the Huntsville Botanical Garden last week. And if you haven’t noticed, almost all the flowers I photographed at the garden have water drops on them. Nature was ready for me. Of course, I couldn’t have gotten any of these shots if my dear friend Sue hadn’t ran over to hold an umbrella over me each time it started sprinkling!

UPDATE: Thanks to Deb (Aunt Debbi’s Garden) for identifying this beauty first: “It is Spiderwort (Tradescantia) Beautiful flower with an ugly name.”

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

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Trout Lily

9 04 2009

Trout Lilies (Erythronium americanum) are a North American native perennial and can be found growing in damp, open woodlands. A member of the Lily family, this edible and medicinal plant is cultivated by seed or transplanting of the corm or bulb in fall. (From seed to bloom take up four to seven years and only plants that have two leaves will flower—and then they may not bloom every year! Now that would require more patience than I think possess!)

Tiny one inch flowers bloom from March to May and grow best in a deciduous woodland environment with filtered light in the spring. It is said to get its name from the speckled leaves, which mimic the speckled skin of a trout.

According to Stanwyn G. Shetler, Curator of Botany Emeritus at the National Musem of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution:

“the species spreads not only by seeds but also by offshoot runners from their corms, forming extensive clonal colonies, carpeting the forest. In one study the colonies were found to average nearly 140 years in age and were as old as 1300 years.”

You can read Shetler’s article, first published in the Bulletin of the Virginia Native Plant Society, at this link here.

Learn more about Trout Lilies in this article by Sarah Coulber for the Canadian Wildlife Federation at this link here.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

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Virginia Bluebells

6 04 2009

Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginica) are also known as Virginia Cowslip, Lungwort Oysterleaf (which, as Dave Barry might say, would make a very good name for a rock bandladies and gentlemen, put your hands together for Lungwort Oysterleaf!), Roanoke Bells and Languid Ladies (again, a very good name for a rock band!).

Blooming in spring from March to May, these herbaceous woodland wildflowers can be found in upland forests, floodplain forests, wetlands and bluffs. They will grow in sun but prefer slight to full shade, and are ideal plants for rock gardens. Each inch-long blossom consists of five petals that form a tubular shape. The buds begin with a pinkish hue that changes to a violet blue color as they age. Although they can be pollinated by bumblebees, butterflies are the most common pollinators.

I’ve read that Bluebells bloom in profusion at Bull Run Regional Park in Manassas about this time of the year, so guess where I’m heading soon! If you’re in this area, there’s an annual Bull Run Bluebell Walk at 2:00 p.m. this Sunday, April 12. I want to avoid the crowd, so I’ll try to break away a bit from design work later this week.

Read Joel Achenbach’s recent homage to Bluebells in a Washington Post article published last month here. I especially liked: You can buy a bluebell at a garden center, but that’s like seeing a fox in the zoo. Nothing makes me weep like the sight of a wildflower in captivity.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

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