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Posts Tagged ‘Mayapples’

IMG_7424Sunday was reported as the area’s coldest May 15 in more than 120 years; a colder morning than even Fairbanks, Alaska.

Anxious to put color and springtime into their gardens, eager beavers who had planted their annuals scurried about Saturday to haul pots into garages and cover tender plants already in ground beds with bedsheets, tablecloths and other means of protection.

It is always a guessing game in Chicagoland when it comes to the weather. We actually hit 80 degree temperatures a few weeks ago. The weather has seemed even more mercurial this year. Gardening centers and nurseries keep waiting for a sustained break in weather for business has surely been slow for them this year.

The good news is that cooler temperatures have afforded a long season of spring blooms. From the sustained performance of the daffodils, to the surprise emergence of Jack-in-the-Pulpit, the fragrant lilac blooms to the exquisite tulip displays, it has been a good spring for early bloomers – and Mayapples!

I purchased a few divisions of Mayapples at our garden club’s annual spring plant sale a few years ago. There are many reasons for joining a garden club, and this is certainly one of them. Our member plant sales help fund the rich and varied programs we have at meetings. They also provide tried-and-true plant stock for members. It is no secret that here on the Cutoff a good portion of our garden beds are filled with the offspring of plants from my garden club friends.

May Apples are a vivid example.

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In establishing  a woodland garden, the celandine poppies, Jack-in-the-pulpit, trillium and now Mayapples all came from Mary’s garden. Waiting in the wings (the garage) are bluebells, also from Mary’s garden. Interspersed are anemone, from Bev and Jerry. Many of our daffodils are from Jerry’s bulb divisions. The darling of the patch, Lady’s Mantle, catches dewdrops in between them all.  M’lady really needs a bit more sun, but, she serves us well in the woodland garden) and was from Dorothy.

Underneath the umbrella of leaves, small buds appeared this year on the Mayapples. I observed this plant,  both in the garden here, and in my forest wanderings. They are abundant throughout the area and quite visible on the forest floors this year. They seem to have sensed the need for umbrellas long before we did as they sent out their bumper-shoots in anticipation.

With my yellow rain slicker and red rubber shoes (I am a sight to behold) I slogged about in the biting wind on Saturday afternoon. This is what I found.

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I will be checking these Mayapples as we swing into summer, hoping to see an “apple” or two come from these sweet May flowers.

Do Mayapples (mandrake) grow where you live?

Image below from here.

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Spring has sprung!

Bluebells:close-up

We have been enjoying some bright, sunny, warm days and pleasant nights for sleeping with the windows open.

Robins have constructed a nest in the crook of the gutters, Mr. Woodchuck made a brief appearance, the spring peepers have performed with a great deal of gusto, Mr. and Mrs. Mallard have returned from their winter down south – and I saw an owl, perched upon a dead tree, seemingly directing traffic on a busy route.

Life is good.

Swallow on post:blue:long

I took some time to walk about at the Sagawau Canyon Environmental Center; a slow walk with the sound of songbirds, the babble of a brook coming tumbling out of the canyon. At first, I thought this was a bluebird oh, how I hoped it was!  He sat on the pole for the longest time, serenading with all his might, then, suddenly swooping into the cerulean sky, his true love joining him in a a dance of love.

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I never, ever tire of this, dear reader; this primal rhythm of love and life and nature with the slow pull of wonder that leads me to wander about my garden, into the woods, across the arboretums and conservatories and lands that have been wisely conserved for generations upon generations to enjoy.

Redbud?

I “get it”.  I think I understand Mr. Emerson’s words that “earth laughs in flowers”.

Daffodils:long view

Bluebells:stump Woodland flowers Robin's egg:crushed IMG_6586 IMG_6753Brunerra:2016

There have been several days of hard work in the gardens, for sure. Two beds are now raked clean of winter’s wrath, three more beds still sit await, including the swath of prairie we have been slowly developing. There is a bit of a story of our little prairie that I will try to share in another post. Let me just say that where there is smoke, there is fire (and not-to-worry, all’s well that ends well).

Along with my “walk-about”, there is “here-about” the tender emergence of Mayapples, brunnera, and celandine poppies. Lily of the valley are pushing through, as are lungwort and feverfew, marjoram and lavender. Siberian squill is abundant – and then, there are the sweet violets that I first noticed while walking the grounds on my mother’s birthday.

Ma’s name is Violet.

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IMG_7491 - Version 2As I do most mornings, I took a walk about the garden, stopping first in Penny’s Arbor House (aka Papa’s Tree House, according to grandson Ezra).  A wren was searching about for her for breakfast, As my eyes took in the lush, green if weedy expanse of lawn, I could see the havoc the resident herd wreaked upon several plants.

I heard an oriole high in the canopy. I saw him yesterday, wearing his bright orange cloak. He was perched, quite regally on a pole just a few feet from the Wildlife Habitat sign – a Kodak moment if ever there was. I no sooner turned on my camera when he flitted away, resuming his melodic sonnet upon a branch on the edges of the canopy. If you look closely, you can see his silhouette.

As I looked down on the arbor plot I saw that, for the first time here, the trillium have bloomed. It was a strategic purchase at a past garden club member’s plant sale two year’s ago.  They are under their own miniature canopy of Mayapples and Ladies Mantle. No “apples”, yet, but a widening spread of green umbrellas just waiting to cover any May blooms that might come.

IMG_7488The first of the tree peonies are in bloom.  The sweetly dressed girls in magenta gowns arrived first to the garden party with the soft pink skirted lasses in the wings, waiting their turn to shine, while Laddie has just about finished his turn on the dance floor. Don’t you just love the excitement of prom season in the garden?

IMG_0409IMG_0474I wandered about, like Wee Willie Winkie, upstairs and downstairs in my nightgown (only I was still in my pajamas with a yellow rain slicker on – a fashion trendsetter if ever there was one).

A gaggle of geese, who take room and board at the neighbor’s stream, flew overhead; morning rush hour traffic on the Cutoff. Either that or they were admiring my yellow rain slicker. I fear a pair of geese have muscled their way into Mr. and Mrs. Mallard’s territory. I haven’t seen the ducks in several weeks, but, have seen a pair of geese in among the cattails and murky water. I’ve also seen a muskrat taking a bath and immediately thought of Wind in the Willows.

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The bleeding hearts are beginning to fade. I made a mental note (never a wise idea) that I need to cut the faded stems in hope of another strand or two of hearts for the blossoming girls to wear to the prom. I’ll do that tomorrow, I thought to myself, only my neighbor may have heard me say it out loud, for just then I caught an intoxicating fragrance behind me, in front of me, and to the far side of the house, where the lily of the valley are at long last in bloom.

So, dear friend, you might have guessed that I took out my thumb and fingers and began to snip, snip away, fashioning a most welcome spring bouquet.   This one’s for you, Sallie,

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