Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Woodland Walk Wednesdays - Early Spring Hepaticas

There is nothing more wonderful than taking a walk in the woods and discovering a beautiful wildflower blooming along the path! These gorgeous blue Hepaticas (hepatica americana) with their dainty creamy white stamens are such a treat to see blooming just as the snowdrops are beginning to fade.

There are two common species of hepaticas that are distinguished by the shape of their three-lobed leaves. On my woodland path, I have both the sharp-lobed hepaticas and the round-lobed hepaticas. They bloom in a range of whites, pinks, purples and blues. The pictures show the round lobed hepaticas, which in my garden, bloom a little earlier than the sharp lobed hepaticas.

When we moved into our home many years ago, it was a far cry from the house we dreamed of, but, it was our little slice of heaven on a pretty wooded 3/4 acre lot.  Being avid hikers, we decided to carve out several paths through our woods so we could enjoy hiking through our property everyday if we wanted!  With a little thought as to where we wanted to enter into the woods and exit, we began clearing a path with a machete. We let several interesting areas like the large rock we could sit on, the two mature black walnut trees that grow within a few feet of each other, and the wild raspberry patch guide the direction of where the path would go.

We had one of our local tree services come and deliver wood chips for the path. Many times they are happy to deliver it for free if they are working in the area. It isn't aged mulch or finely shredded, it's the chipped trees that they just cut down. Not great for garden beds near the house or foundation, but perfect for a woodland path or beds where you don't mind looking at it until it ages to a nice grey or brown.

It was a lot of work moving 16 cubic yds. of woodchips from the driveway, up a steep hill, across the lawn, and into the woods, one wheel barrel at a time! But it was so worth it!  We enjoy our woodland path almost every day and all our dogs have loved it too! 

My goal was to keep the beautiful natural woods we had, but enhance them with more of our native wildflowers, trees and shrubs.  I had been collecting wildflowers for several years in a little garden I had at the cottage we rented. When we moved, I dug them up and brought them all with me!
This is when my adventure began!

I really learned a tremendous amount about wildflower gardening and would love to share some of this with you. If you're interested, join me each wednesday to learn more about how I developed our woodland path, tips on how to garden with native wildflowers, and see what's blooming along our path! 

 I would love to hear from you! Feel free to jump in and share any tips, ideas or questions you may have!

Happy Gardening!


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I believe I saw one of these hepatica along the Quinnipiac Trail in Hamden, CT at elevation 850 ft. Beautiful. Thank you for you helpful description and photos.