Jim Shields' Garden Notes
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Blog Home : April 2008

- Spring is Starting

Although today looks and feels like winter, the temperature is actually in the low 40s F and there are Narcissus in bloom everywhere. Our stellata hybrid Magnolia is in bloom, and down in Indianapolis, perhaps 15 miles south of us, all the magnolias are in bloom. In our woodland garden, there are Chionodoxa in bloom everywhere. These are volunteer seedlings from the commercial bulbs with the large white center in a bright blue flower. The white Anemone blanda are in bloom. They seem to be doing well at a sunny edge of the woodland garden. Like the Chionodoxa, the Anemone blanda are a very welcome sign of Spring each year.

The rose red Corydalis solida 'Beth Evans' and 'George P. Baker' are in bloom.

Corydalis 'Beth Evans' (c) copyright 2008 by Shields Gardens Ltd.  All rights reserved.
Corydalis 'Beth Evans'

Corydalis kuznetzovii is also freshly in bloom; but C. angustifolia 'Georgian White', from Mr. Janis Ruksans' Bulb Nursery in Latvia, is seeding around the edge of the woodland. I'm quite pleased by this.

Corydalis kuznetzovii (c) copyright 2008 by Shields Gardens Ltd.  All rights reserved.
Corydalis kuznetzovii

Fritillaria pallida is coming up, and F. thunbergii is up but with only blind shoots (i.e., no flower buds). There seems to be no sign yet of any of the F. camschatcensis.

Trillium nivale bloomed a week or two ago, and some of the flowers are still present. I tried hand pollinating them, but there was very little fresh ripe pollen in evidence, even on warm, sunny days. The other Indiana native Trillium, T. grandiflorum, T. flexipes, and T. recurvatum, are pushing up. T. recurvatum is already showing buds, but the other two are just a bundle of leaves so far.

Trillium cuneatum and T. sessile are also up, the few surviving plants I have of each, and they have flower buds this year. There is only a single sessile left, but there are two cuneatum with flower buds. A couple of T. luteum are up and seem to have a flower bud this year. That would be nice!

Trillium luteum (c) copyright 2004 by Shields Gardens Ltd.  All rights reserved.
Trillium luteum in 2004

A few years ago, I bought several trillium plants of each of several species, including T. cernuum, T. vaseyii, T. catesbaei, and T. simile. None of the plants labeled "T. cernuum" looked like it might be that species. As for the others, none of those are up yet; and I'm afraid none of them have survived.

Claytonia virginica is up and in bud, at least in a couple places. Eranthis cilicica bloomed a week or two ago, and it has seeded around a little bit; that's good, because the original plants are gone from their spot. The native Dicentra, cuculata and canadensis, are up and showing flower buds.

Primula veris is in bud, and a few small plants of Primula vulgaris survive. P. veris survives, blooms, and seeds around a bit; but P. vulgaris is a short lived plant here, at best. That's a pity, because P. vulgaris is my favorite. I had some other species of Primula in the woodland garden for a few years, but they have all apparently disappeared.

It's still too early for the Arisaema to be coming up, but the Anemonella thalictroides are starting to bloom in the same bed.

In Indiana, our native Trillium species are pretty clear cut, not easily confused with one another. The only likely confusion might come between T. flexipes and T. cernuun; but T. cernuum is found only in the far northwestern counties of the State, and there it is exceedingly rare. In the Southeastern States, many purported species run into each other and probably hybridize like mad. It makes life very interesting for the local Trillium enthusiasts down there.

Good gardening,


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