Ephemerals and not-so-Ephemerals

By February 22, 2011 Day-to-Day, My Garden 2 Comments

Very early spring is a great time to go away on vacation, because everything is happening so slowly in the garden that you barely see anything from day to day, but when you come back, stuff has actually happened! (Stuff! Glorious stuff!)

There are plenty of buds on the shrubs (although the Redbud That Looked Sad is still iffy) but they’re the same buds that were there a month ago. (Although I think my little painted buckeye is coming back! Woohoo! It had a rough time transplanting and I was skeptical.) And a lot of plants in the garden haven’t really gone that dormant in the first place—late summer heat killed them back, but they put out another flush of leaves at ground level, most of which weathered the winter and our multiple snows just fine. The mountain mint in particular is goin’ hog-wild. (I have Pycnanthemum incana in my garden–I just found a source of virgianium, so I’m hopefully gonna give that a try this spring.)  The black-eyed susans and giant coneflower are also going nuts, the hyssops are all plugging away, and the spread of the bergamot assumes moderately terrifying proportions already.  There’s also something I’m hoping is the sundrops I planted there and not some random weed. (If it IS sundrops, it’s spreading like crazy…)

The real excitement, however, upon coming back from New Orleans was the stuff that had gone dormant, but which is now returning.  The one that I’m really jazzed about is the bloodroot—one lonely red tuber, looking like a small ugly sweet potato, which the squirrels promptly dug up and I promptly re-buried. It did not look encouraging at the time. But when I got back and nervously peered at the little nook I’d planted it in, I see the top of the ugly sweet potato and a swollen green node to one side that means either A) green sweet potato cancer or more likely B) it’s actually gonna flower! Woohoo!

My other favored spring ephemeral, the celandine poppy, has thrown out a spray of teeny little leaves, which is exciting. And the chives apparently decided that it was Grow Time and are now six inches tall (they hadn’t even poked their heads out when I left!) as has the spiderwort.

My prairie planting is pretty unimpressive—the narrow-leaf mountain mint overwintered and is spreading, but the grasses won’t break dormancy for a long while, and I fear the cup plant, which was supposed to be indestructible, may have destructed. The pale coneflower has a tiny spray of dark purply-green crumpled leaves and isn’t sure about this whole thing yet while the prairie winecup displays the determined optimism of a botanical Anne of Green Gables and is going to bloom even if everything around it is deader than dirt. But I was ecstatic to find that the rattlesnake master and a yucca-like relative, which I had thought was a total long-shot, have set rosettes of fleshy little green leaves, and are gonna return this year! Yuccas! Dude! Those are desert plants! But here they are! Madness!

Ahem. Sorry, spring gets me a little worked up. As you can tell.