Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Bloodroots Abound

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Just in from my morning walk which started about 5. For me there's nothing better about the part of year when mornings and evenings apply a day stretcher and give the gardener the biggest opportunity. It was a nice walk out to the small spring on the mountain and then back to the old log landing, the long needle pine stand and then back through the peony nursery.

Difficult to figure what's going on this morning. The weather report is for fine weather but the morning sky is stacked up with black clouds like a January afternoon when a snow storm is approaching. I know that won't be happening as it's already up to 58 degrees en route for a predicted 80.

Every day more wild flowers catch my attention and I thoroughly enjoy them. I know that more and more gardeners are incorporating them in their gardens and that's the good news. The bad news is that wherever I seem to wander, I find pockets in the soil where shovels have dug out scoops of wild flowers. I understand this, but I don't like it.

Wild flower cultivation is sometimes easy, sometimes difficult. For example, the Trillium grandiflorum I grow take 6-7 years from seed if all goes well and the deer don't top off the flowers. If you're out and about and you see a big colony, there's no way you'll understand the age of the group and what it took to get them to that population. "Big" or "many" translates to "ok to dig" and that's just not right.

One wild flower I write about too much is bloodroot. That's because I have always enjoyed it since a kid and I like to see masses of white undercarpet. This is a quick-to-reproduce plant which some see as a weed because of the way it can take over the right location. I really like to watch the way the flowers open and close and the way it unfurls in spring. It's a photographer's challenge because some afternoons it begins to close back up around 3. White is nice and so are bloodroots. I guess the juices are poisonous but apparently not to touch as the native Americans used the orange juice to color their skin before ceremonial events. I'll stick to flowers and avoid the rest of that story.

If you're out and about in the next couple days and you know an area with moist soil
that's open to sun such as along a brook or stream, keep an eye out for bloodroot. Up this way it will only be in bloom until the weekend as the warm weather is making it drop its petals and form seed pods right now. In the meantime, remember my comments about taking wildflowers from the wild. Check out the New England Wild Flower Society too as they have plant sales going on right now and the prices are very reasonable and the proceeds support a good project.

With that thought, I'm out of here for the day. I wish I could wait for a while longer. As I look out the window, Gail and Karl are in the lower garden in front of my office window. Gail is scuffing leaves around like a wild turkey looking for a snack. She's really looking for where she lined out a row of Tiarella 'Iron Butterfly' last summer. From my recall she looks like she's about 2 rows away from the right place. Karl is using his sniffer to help but that's not working either.

From the moutain above Peacham Pond where the potholes in the road get deeper and the sun now rises higher.

With great gardening wishes,

George Africa

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