Native Wildflowers

Packera aurea (Golden Ragwort) and Phlox divaricata (Eastern Blue Phlox)

Packera aurea (Golden Ragwort) and Phlox divaricata (Eastern Blue Phlox)

Sunday we visited the North Carolina Botanical Garden (NCBG) to check one of my favorite plantings, a wildflower display of Packera aurea (Golden Ragwort) and Phlox divaricata (Eastern Blue Phlox).

Their flower show is just getting underway.

Packera aurea (Golden Ragwort)

Packera aurea (Golden Ragwort)

Packera aurea (Golden Ragwort)

Packera aurea (Golden Ragwort)

Phlox divaricata (Eastern Blue Phlox)

Phlox divaricata (Eastern Blue Phlox)

Both Packera aurea (Golden Ragwort) and Phlox divaricata (Eastern Blue Phlox) are eastern North American natives that look lovely blooming together.

Golden Ragwort and Eastern Blue Phlox are eastern North American natives.

Golden Ragwort and Eastern Blue Phlox are eastern North American natives.

 

The Botanical Garden has many other flowers blooming now also, including Mertensia virginica (Virginia bluebells), native to eastern North America. Here are several Virginia bluebells tucked in among the phlox and golden ragwort.

Mertensia virginica (Virginia bluebells) are blooming too.

At right, Mertensia virginica (Virginia bluebells) blooming among the phlox and golden ragwort.

Polemonium reptans (Spreading Jacob’s Ladder) is native to eastern United States. I have not been able to establish these in my garden despite three attempts, but plan to try again.

Polemonium reptans (Spreading Jacob's Ladder)

Polemonium reptans (Spreading Jacob’s Ladder)

In the woodland gardens I was delighted to find this Hepatica acutiloba (Sharp-lobe Liverleaf). A member of the Buttercup family – ranunculaceae - it is native to eastern North America.

Hepatica acutiloba Sharp-lobe Liverleaf)

Hepatica acutiloba (Sharp-lobe Liverleaf)

We saw quite a lot of trillium of various kinds. I did not see a sign identifying the yellow one.

Trillium

Trillium

Great White Trillium is native to eastern North America.

Trillium grandiflorum (Great White Trillium)

Trillium grandiflorum (Great White Trillium)

Trillium cuneatum (Little Sweet Betsy) is native to southeastern United States.

Trillium cuneatum (Little sweet Betsy)

Trillium cuneatum (Little Sweet Betsy)

There are two more natives that caught my eye Sunday. The first one, Aesculus pavia (Red Buckeye), is an attention grabber at this time of year with its long panicles of coral-red-orange tubular flowers. We saw quite a few of these, growing as shrubs and as trees. They are native to the southern and eastern parts of the United States.

Aesculus pavia (Red Buckeye)

Aesculus pavia (Red Buckeye)

Red buckeye is native to the southern and eastern parts of the United States

Red buckeye is native to the southern and eastern parts of the United States

Trillium stamineum (Twisted Trillium) is native to three U.S. states: Tennessee, Alabama and Mississippi.

Trillium stamineum (Twisted Trillium)

Trillium stamineum (Twisted Trillium)

Native to southeastern United States is this Fothergilla major (Witch-hazel family – Hamamelidaceae). I like its white and yellowish-green coloration, a fresh spring-like combination.  It seems to be doing a happy dance.

Fothergilla major (Witch-hazel family - Hamamelidaceae

Fothergilla major (Witch-hazel family – Hamamelidaceae)

Fothergilla major (Witch-hazel family - Hamamelidaceae

Fothergilla major (Witch-hazel family – Hamamelidaceae)

There were many native ferns emerging and a beautiful but camera shy Halesia carolina (Carolina Silverbell). Mayapples are just beginning to bloom another visitor told us, but we did not see them. We saw many Mayapples though and will have to return to this garden soon.

Podophyllum peltatum (Mayapple) is native to eastern North America.

Podophyllum peltatum (Mayapple) is native to eastern North America.

After An April Shower

The dreaded pine pollen has dusted every surface with a fine yellow coating for the last week. I hope the heavy, early morning downpour washed much of it away but it will probably be around a few more weeks. For now the garden looks cleansed by the rain, though the spiraea branches (left) are heavy from the weight of the water.

Garden View On Rainy Mid-April Morning

Garden View On Rainy Mid-April Morning

Fall-planted white, purple and blue pansies currently adorn the meditation circle. Other plantings in the labyrinth, selected for their evergreen nature, are Husker Red Penstemon,  dianthus and several types of thyme.

Last night the white pansies shone brilliantly in the early evening light. Their glowing effect makes me think I would enjoy a monochrome planting, all white, lining the meditation path.

Meditation Circle

Meditation Circle

Drifts of irises seem to have doubled in height over the past several days. Slowly I am working my way around the garden pulling out the pesky, persistent weeds.

Temperatures last weekend climbed to 80°F. but spring is fickle. There is a freeze warning in effect for tomorrow morning.

 

In A Vase On Monday—Cornus Florida

 

Flowering Dogwood

Flowering Dogwood

I am joining in Cathy’s weekly challenge In A Vase On Monday to create a floral arrangement from materials gathered in one’s own garden. This week I have chosen to feature the native Cornus florida (flowering dogwood).

Responding to the week’s sunshine and warm temperatures, the petal-like bracts of Cornus florida (flowering dogwood) are almost fully opened, though the actual yellow-green flower heads, contained in the dense central cluster, remain tightly closed.

Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood)

Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood)

On Saturday, as I weeded nearby the dogwood, I became more and more aware of its seasonal beauty and I began imagining how it would look indoors. Though I have never cut dogwood for an arrangement before, I thought it might work perfectly in a set of tall pastel vases given me by one of my sisters. I collected three branches on Sunday and assembled the arrangement.

In A Vase On Monday-Flowering Dogwood-2

Because I needed to trim the three branches further in order to sit them in the vases properly I ended up with some leftover stems. For these I found a ceramic vase with a small mouth that helped hold these remainders straight. The earthy brown glaze and heaviness of the pottery piece contrasts greatly with the shape and height of the three pale-colored glass vases. Though not part of the original design this vase became an important component in the arrangement.

In A Vase On Monday-Flowering Dogwood-3

Using branches of varying heights as well as the airiness of the flowering branches themselves combine to create a sense of movement in the arrangement.

In A Vase On Monday-Flowering Dogwood5

When I was a child my father instilled in me a fondness for dogwoods by making them the backdrop for family photographs at Easter. He had planted a dogwood in each corner of our front yard and many a spring my sisters and I posed in front of one particular white flowering tree, squinting at the sun in our pastel dresses and white gloves, patent leather shoes and Easter hats. So this week when the dogwoods started filling the neighborhoods and roadsides it really seemed like spring.

In A Vase On Monday-Flowering Dogwood-4

Thanks to Cathy at Rambling In The Garden for hosting. Visit her to see what she and others are placing In A Vase On Monday.

Wordless Wednesday—First Columbine

Native Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine) is growing nestled against the foundation and lots of other more appropriate places. This is the first one to open this spring.

Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)

Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)

Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)

Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)-detail.

In A Vase On Monday—Branching Into Spring

In A Vase On Monday

It is Monday evening and I am joining in Cathy’s weekly challenge In A Vase On Monday to create a floral arrangement from materials gathered in one’s own garden.

I dashed out late this afternoon when today’s heavy rain finally had paused. Brilliant white branches of spiraea, now in full bloom, draped gracefully downward under the weight of the day’s water. Thinking I simply would gather a few stems to place in a vase for today, I happy found the long spires were resilient after giving them a quick shake to remove the water. [Note: I am grateful to Marian at Hortitopia for helping me identify this as bridal wreath spiraea.]

Nearby I noticed the strong pink magenta flowers of the redbud tree. Deciding to switch directions, I cut a few branches of this also. Now my new goal was to display the curving, arching lines of several branches of redbud against the backdrop of a black container. My vision called for sophisticated restraint.

To support the arrangement I placed three florist’s frogs into a low black acrylic dish.  As I started assembling the arrangement, each placement felt interesting, but it can be hard to know when to stop. Eventually I had included the spiraea also, making the design a bit more exuberant, even frillier, than I had intended. But I like the way it turned out.

In A Vase On Monday-3

In A Vase On Monday

Black stones set among the flower pins complete the arrangement.

I photographed the flowers on a handwoven silk table runner, a thoughtful gift from one of my sisters.

In A Vase On Monday-2 

Materials List

Cercis canadensis (Eastern Redbud)
Spiraea prunifolia (bridal wreath spiraea)

In A Vase On Monday

In A Vase On Monday-4

In A Vase On Monday-5

In A Vase On Monday-6

Thanks to Cathy at Rambling In The Garden for hosting. Visit her to see what she and others are placing In A Vase On Monday.

Early April Charms

The temperature is 79°F (26°C) at 7:00pm but it will cool down for the weekend about ten degrees. It has been sunny and warm this week and somehow I even managed to get a few things accomplished in the garden. There are quite a lot of weeds I still need to tackle, but I can see progress in the area of maintenance. Meanwhile plants are responding to the nice weather, putting on new growth, sending up shoots and displaying glorious blossoms.

Phlox subulata (Moss Phlox) is just beginning to open. It is planted in several locations around the garden and I just made an application with our architectural review board to put some in the “hell strip” near the street where grass struggles to grow.

I prefer the bluer hues and currently am growing Phlox subulata ‘Emerald Blue’ and the darker Phlox subulata ‘Purple Beauty’.

On the left is Phlox subulata 'Emerald Cushion Blue' and on the right, 'Purple Beauty'.

On the left is Phlox subulata ‘Emerald Cushion Blue’ and on the right, ‘Purple Beauty’.

Phlox subulata

Phlox subulata

This native Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine) is at about the same stage as last year and should bloom in a few days. This particular one is hovering above a thick mass of Monarda didyma (Scarlet Beebalm), also a native plant.

Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)

Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)

Despite being crowded out by evergreens in the back corner of the garden, a struggling Cercis canadensis L. (Eastern Redbud) is valiantly signaling another spring. This tree also is native to this part of North Carolina. The clusters of magenta flowers often grow out of the tree trunk itself.

Cercis canadensis L. (Eastern Redbud)

Cercis canadensis L. (Eastern Redbud)

Cercis canadensis L. (Eastern Redbud)

Cercis canadensis L. (Eastern Redbud)

Cercis canadensis L. (Eastern Redbud)

Cercis canadensis L. (Eastern Redbud)

 

I pruned the Clematis ‘Jackmanii’ back to 7-8 inches in late winter and it is leafing out and forming a lot of healthy buds.

Clematis 'Jackmanii'

Clematis ‘Jackmanii’

 

Spiraea is in full bloom this week in the western border.

Spiraea

Spiraea

Spiraea

Spiraea

Spiraea

Spiraea

Another white flower in bloom now in my garden is Iberis sempervirens (Candytuft). This can be long-lived but I have lost many plants in the last few years due in part to voracious voles and perhaps also due to wet soil. Some have survived here at least ten years so there may be a difference in the variety also. At any rate, things are moving along. So nice to see the garden awakening.

Iberis sempervirens (Candytuft)

Iberis sempervirens (Candytuft)

Iberis sempervirens (Candytuft)

Iberis sempervirens (Candytuft)