Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Spring comes to the native riverside garden

Jack-in-the-pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum)
One year ago on May 11th I went on my first plant shopping trip with the Slow the Flow Grant money I received to completely relandscape about 4,000 square feet of bare mulch over plastic tarps we inherited when we bought our new home. One year later the plastic is gone, most of the invasive plants are gone, and the 62 varieties of native plants I planted are coming back bigger and heartier than when I bought them.

I was worried, since it was such a harsh winter, that so many things would die. And with almost two weeks now with no rain I was worried the shade plants wouldn't come back. But they are. There's nothing quite like the candy striping of the jack-in-the-pulpit (right). I never get tired of peaking under their green leaves to see this sight.

Solomon's seal (Polygonatum odoratum)

Two weeks ago a friend called and said, "remember all that solomon's seal I have in my backyard? Well, it's taking over, do you want some?" WANT SOME? Of course! My girls and I went over and dug up a whole tub of it. It's already flowering, just in time for the returning hummingbirds. Haven't seen one yet but their buffet is waiting for them.

When we moved here eighteen months ago there was one clump of violets near the driveway. Violets are a great flower to attract frittilary butterflies, and are a nectar source for early bees.  I knew if I could keep my kids from picking the flowers last spring we'd have a lot more violets. And we do! There's a nice carpet of them forming in the shade along the front fence and the front door.

The subtle globeflower (Trollius laxus) is blooming
I need more foamflower (Tiarella cordifolia). This could cover my whole yard and I'd still want more!

Trillium cuneatum
Since my plants are coming back so well I couldn't resist a little splurge last weekend at Garden in the Woods. This is my new baby, a Trillium cuneatum, not exactly native to the north shore of Massachusetts (more like NY down through the Appalachians). But it was so pretty I had to have it.

I've also purchased a few more treats this spring that I couldn't find last year. I added an American cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon) to the mini rain garden. And I bought a few low bush blueberries (Vaccinium angustifolium) for the future terracing in the back where I will one day add a bigger rain garden.

Miterwort or 'Fairy cup' (Mitella diphyla)
And my three and almost five-year-old garden gnomes wanted a Fairy cup plant for their fairy garden, so I gave in. I have to admit, it's a really cute plant, they have good taste. 

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