The Secret Garden has many plants native to our area, but it doesn’t have some spring ephemerals that grew at our old house, and it’s even lacking some that grow in a wild area further down the street from where we live now. This year, inspired by a sale, I decided to start rectifying that and placed an order with Amanda’s Garden. The plants arrived in beautiful condition and I planted them last Friday.
My goal for the Secret Garden is that it look natural. Of course, as soon as it became a garden, it was no longer 100% natural. I created paths and continue to maintain them by pruning branches and digging up choice plants (trilliums and Jacks-in-the-pulpit) that sprout in the path. That seems natural to visitors because they’re not expecting branches to slap them in the face anyway. They don’t realize that me pruning the pathway is what makes it easy to walk. I’m slowly but surely removing invasive shrubs and plants. I’ve also added benches to view the waterfall and a bird-watching frog because he amuses me and causes visitors to look twice.For the most part, I’ve only added plants that are native to eastern North America–even if I’ve never seen them grow around here. The two exceptions are snowdrops and Primula japonica. Most visitors wouldn’t be able to tell which flowers were planted and which grew there naturally. Of course I try to plant my acquisitions where they will grow well, but I also try to place them where they are easily viewed from the path or a bench–that’s not natural either, but it’s also something no one would think twice about. I keep adding more to increase the diversity and my pleasure in the garden. Let’s take a stroll and admire the latest additions, shall we? The flower is a much brighter yellow than what was growing in the woods where we used to live: I planted my bright bellwort on a slight slope visible from the lower bench. Fun fact: Bellwort is in the Colchicum family. In my picture above, you can see the flower stem extending horizontally to the right. It was upright when I planted it, but it’s been pretty windy. Squirrel corn grows in a wild area further down our road. Here’s what it looked like last Friday: After that I planted Dutchman’s breeches (Dicentra cucullaria), but I can’t find it. I think an animal already ate it. The leaves look very similar to Squirrel Corn, but the flowers are earlier and look like upside down pants (sorta). Both of these plants have corms that rodents find tasty, and when you plant native flora, you always run the risk that the native fauna will enjoy it just as much as you do. There’s a reason Squirrel Corn is called corn, and Dutchman’s Breeches is no different. Yes, five! I had planted one hepatica (also called liverwort) here a couple of years ago as a test, and it hasn’t died. I’ve always wanted a patch of it because it blooms so early, so I got myself a patch. Some of the plants had seed heads, which the arrow is pointing to. With all the plants in my order, I hope they will seed around and make themselves at home, but this is the year of the liverwort and I really wanted to encourage it. Down the road from us, hepaticas bloom in a range of colors. I hope my five represent a range of colors. Decades ago, I saw a pink shooting star on a walk through a rural area near the mobile home we lived in before our first house. They are enchanting and we’ll just have to see if it likes it here. I tried this one at our old house and it got eaten. Maybe I will have better luck this time! It would be lovely to see a clump of them from the bench that’s nearby.
I hope you’ve enjoyed our virtual stroll. The time when these woodland beauties bloom is quite fleeting and not everyone gets a chance to see them.
Inspired by the words of Elizabeth Lawrence, “We can have flowers nearly every month of the year,” Carol of May Dreams Gardens started Garden Bloggers Bloom Day. On the 15th of every month, garden bloggers from all over the world publish what is currently blooming in their gardens. Check it out at May Dreams Gardens.