Tuesday, May 02, 2017


T. grandiflorum

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

I have been here at the flower farm since early morning and have moved equipment in and out half a dozen times only to be driven back inside by the rain each time. I have plenty of potting to do but the cold and the wet just dissolve my lasting power. I just gave up for the afternoon and went for a ride in the cart along the river perimeter to look at spring ephemerals--those wild flowers that shine like beacons but offer smiles and happiness for only a couple-three-four days. 

T. erectum

Vermont has three trilliums and two can be found along the river today although only one is native to the area--the burgundy red erectum. The white grandiflorum are some that I grew from seed at the house and moved down here when we bought the property. There are not a large number of either but they are spreading each fall with the help of ants which grab the seeds and carry them around. The third variety, Trillium undulatum, will be out soon. They tend not to grow in clumps and their painted faces stand out in solitary placements here and there. Most trilliums will grow well in Vermont but for whatever reason, we only have three natives. The grandiflorum grow best where the soil is sweeter so I offer a handful of lime to each plant each spring.

T. undulatum


Hepaticas are another early favorite that have been hybridized in Japan and Europe in recent years. These are wonderful little flowers with thin petals, big stamens and soft colors. 


Bloodroot come in singles and doubles and in shades of creams and pinks. They self seed easily and over just a few years provide patches of spring color. On cloudy days they either close early or just never open until there is ample sunshine.

The list of ephemerals continues. Sadly none seem to have any lasting power but factually they are sure to please. Add some to your gardens if you can.

Writing from the flower farm where the rains of two days have brought the river up several feet and have made the gardens wet and muddy. More rain is coming later this week. If you get a chance, get out and see what ephemerals grow close to you.

George Africa
The Vermont Gardener

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