Okay, it’s time to admit I’m an addict. I just can’t seem to get enough native plants in my yard! Joining the Native Plant Society was the first step leading to my disease. When I went on my first rescue, I was immediately hooked. Just couldn’t get enough of those plants. I wanted one of every kind I saw. Field trips to the Alabama Botanical Gardens and The Pocket added to my woes.
Now, I hit every native plant sale I can find, dig up non natives and replace them with natives, and prowl my yard day and night looking for new blooms or a new plant poking its head up through the ground.
And even worse is plant envy. When one of my native plant friends gets a new plant that I don’t have, I must admit that I covet their plants.
Here are some of the beautiful plants that are now beginning to bloom, as the earliest spring ephemerals begin to wane.
The Native Redbud tree has been beautiful. I dug this from the yard of the oldest living Master Gardener in Georgia after doing a garden program at his home near Macon. Just a sweet Southern gentleman. I always think of him when this tree is in bloom.
The little Southern Wood Violets are blooming with great abandon. Next year, I’ll have dozens of babies to pot up and share.
The Woodland Phlox is just beautiful and has the added bonus of being resistant to the common mildew problem of cultivated phlox.
Whenever I hear the word ‘honeysuckle’ I always think of the yellow and white Japanese honeysuckle of my youth. I remember us kids walking down the little dirt Saxon Rd. and plucking the blossoms. We’d pinch the base off, pull out the tallest stamen and lick the sweet nectar from the flower. Now I think not so kindly of the Japanese honeysuckle, as it seems determined to take over my woods. Instead, I have planted this beautiful red native honeysuckle. It is about 6 feet tall, completely covering the obelisk I put there to give it a structure to climb. and has a spread of at least 8 feet. Right now it is covered with hundreds of buds which will begin to open in the next few days, showing off their bright yellow tips. The hummers will be arriving shortly for dinner!
Native Columbines can’t be beat for beauty, endurance and care free attitude. The hummers love it, I love it, and everyone who comes over takes babies home if they want them. They reseed easily, so I always have plenty to share.
Merrybells. What more to say. They certainly make me feel merry, just seeing the blossoms dangle in the breeze.
The tiny buds of the bell shaped flowers dangle from the stalks of the Solomon’s Seal plants. The weather this winter and spring must have been the favorite of these plants, as I have dozens of them springing up all over the wooded areas of the yard.
One of the several varieties of trilliums in the yard. This one is unusual in that it presents its flowers upwards, making them easy to spot. Tirlliums have three leaves, three sepals and three flower petals, thus it’s name.
The Athens Sweet Shrub was developed at UGA’s horticulture school. It is sweetly scented with a light spicy smell.
The Catesby Trillium dangles its blossoms underneath the leaves. This one has a baby nearby from last year’s seed.
Everybody loves the pink Lady’s Slipper orchids. This is one of two that I rescued from a gardeners pesticide applicator. It is returning for the third year. Conventional wisdom says they won’t survive beyond the third year in most transplant situations because of their need for certain microorganisms in the soil and the old pink straw. I don’t have any pine trees, but I always scavenge pine straw from the woods nearby, or from neighbor’s yards when they rake off the old pine straw and dump it on the street so they can spend money on more pine straw. Haven’t figured that one out yet1
The Serviceberry, the black Chokeberry, the Witch Hazel, Pecan tree, native azaleas, and Spicebushes all went into the ground this weekend. Next year, I’ll be prowling the yard every day in the spring, looking for the first signs of blooms. It’s an addiction, but one I don’t ever want to be cured of!