Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Wednesday Woodland Path Walk!

Mertensia virginica - Virginia Bluebells.
Virginia Bluebell is a showy, early spring
wildflower found through most of the
 eastern United States. They have dense
 clusters of pink flower buds that open
up to blue flowers!

Virginia Bluebells are so pretty!
 Like many of the woodland plants I am sharing with you today, they remind me of my spring hikes through the woods of New England where I grew up. When I started my path, my goal was to create an experience similiar to the hikes I would take. Since I tended to spend most of the time with my head looking down so I wouldn't trip, I discovered many of my favorite wildflowers! I loved nothing more than to turn a corner and be greeted with a tiny wildflower next to a rock or at the base of a tree!
That's how I tried to plant along my path, planting a little pocket of plants here and there next to rocks, trees and other little natural features I found in my little patch of woods!

 Uvularia sessilifolia - Sessileleaf Bellwort,
 Wild Oats
.Blooms Early- to mid-spring

I like to call these little plants Wild Oats, the color of their hanging bells are a light yellow reminding of the color of oats. I believe these were native to my woods and I just transplanted them around different areas.
Now they have grown into large patches, showing off their delicate little bells. One might miss them since they are so slender and their bells hang below their leaf, but as a patch of them they are very charming!

Wild Cherry Blossoms
My Husband and I buy native seedlings
every year from our County Agricultural Extension Agency.
They offer a variety of native flowering trees and evergreens to choose from each year. I believe this is one of the wild cherry seedlings that is now 8' tall! They are pretty and provide fruit for the birds later in the season.

Erythronium americanum - Trout Lily; Dogtooth Violet.
Trout lily is one of the early spring wildflowers.

Dog Tooth Violet or Trout Lily

Yellow Dog Tooth Violets bring me back to my childhood backyard where they grew in abundance along a stream we had flowing through our woods. I would sit along the stream in my teenage years and watch their beautiful flowers blow in the breeze. Their spotted green and brown leaves tightly covered this little mound along the bank and engulfed a large boulder that I would sit on and think about life. It was a nice place to escape the crazy life of a teen!!

 So I had to have them along my path too! However, after 26 years they are only now beginning to bloom! For several years I was surprised by one single flower amongst a sea of leaves! This year I was surprised to actually have four beautiful yellow flowers blooming! Woodland gardening takes a lot of patience - but like I have said before, it is so worth the wait!

Stylophorum diphyllum - Wood Poppy, Celandine Poppy.
A beautiful, yellow, early spring wildflower.

This gorgeous Celandine Poppy is only one of hundreds
 that bloom along my path.
I had purchased one little plant from Bowman Gardens
in PA, and thought it had died.
A year or two later, the foliage emerged, but no flower.
 However, once it began flowering in the coming years, it has spread to the point that I am passing plants along to neighbors or to who ever would like one!!
They do create beautiful drifts of yellow flowers, are native, and bloom for along time!  So, I think I'll let them stay!:-)

  Claytonia virginica - Virginia Spring Beau nty,
 Narrow-leaved Spring Beauty.
 Early spring wildflower that can be 4 to 12 inches tall. Very similar to
 Carolina Spring Beauty - C. caroliniana - with the primary differentiator
being the leaf shape. It is protected in Massachusetts, New Jersey,
and Rhode Island as an endangered or historical species,
according to the USDA Plants Database.

While writing this, I actually learned something
 I didn't know about Spring Beauties. I have to make a correction on last weeks walk when I showed a picture of Spring Beauties. I knew that the two patches of spring beauties I had along my path had the same flower but different leaves, however, I never took the time to look into why! Now I know that the picture above is the true Virginia Spring Beauties and the picture last week is actually the Carolina Spring Beauties! They are both beautiful, very delicate, very similar flower, but the difference in leaves was the give away!! I also didn't know that it is an endangered species. I am thrilled my little plants are happily spreading along my path! I don't know if they were endangered years ago when I first planted them but I always stress to everyone how important it is to buy wildflowers from a reputable source that grows them and doesn't take them from the wild! 

This is a picture of the Carolina Spring Beauties and White Common
Violets that happily grow this large rock.

Mourning Doves

As I was strolling along taking pictures I had two mourning doves keeping an eye on me. I love hearing their owl type sounds that they make, in fact when we first moved into this house I thought I was hearing an owl!! The joke was on me, when I put up my bird feeders and realized that the sound was coming from them!  I couldn't believe I was fooled!! I still love them anyway and enjoy having them around to keep me company!

There was also a lot of commotion going on briefly in my neighbors tree that is close to our property. I think some mating was going on!!  It was hard for me to identify what type of hawks they were but my guess was either cooper hawks or possibly the broad shouldered hawks that have recently nested nearby for the last two years! So, I will probably be seeing a few more of them later in the spring!

A section of my woodland path filling in with spring plants. 

The squirrels have been chasing each other around the trees and the male cardinals have been sweetly feeding their female sweethearts from the bird feeders. It's spring!
Love is in the air!!!

See you next week!
Tracey :-)


No comments: