Tulip magnolia, in full glorious bloom
My garden is finally beginning to come back. Winter is gone, and I'm cleaning up the last of the detrius from the trees and dead stalks from last year's blooms. The toads have spent the last four days serenading non-stop, 24-7, with an occasional frog chiming in the chorous. The air is perfumed with tulip magnolia, hyacinths and daffodils and clear spring air. Every day there is a new wildflower blooming in the woods, and I'm so amazed at how they've spread! Yellow adder's tongue, an ephemeral which only stays for a few weeks and is gone, is blooming some 20' away from its original patch, and that colony has tripled in the past few years. This dainty (but not delicate!) little wildflower appeared in my woods on its own some 15 years ago, popping up baby leaves and completely covering a section of path. There were no blooms for three or four years, and then the whole patch seemed to burst into yellow stars at once! I always have to block the path so they don't get stepped on for a few weeks, and then just as suddenly as they appeared, they are gone.
When I first started planting spring wildflowers, mostly rescued from places that were doomed due to development, I kept them cosseted and protected, anxiously searching every spring for their return. One in particular, those dainty yellow violets, returned faithfully in the same spot every year for maybe 5 years, and then suddenly, one year, they disappeared! I was soo disapointed, as they are among my favorites--and then I discovered them, 20' away, and not just three or four plants but hundreds of them! Apparently the seeds had been carried, and they had been quietly gathering forces where I wasn't looking. Now they are everywhere in the woods and it is difficult to walk without stepping on them, much like their cousins, the common blue violets and all of THEIR kin, which include the Confederate violet, a red one that was given to me by a friend, and a couple varieties of white ones. Two years ago, I purchased (with my eyes wide open, mind you) a pot of Korean violets, with pretty long, speckled leaves. I read the tag, it DID say "will naturalize", and I do know what that means! But they are beautiful and I forgive their promiscous ways. I just keep transplanting them out of the paths as I hate stepping on them. I know they aren't North American natives, but I am not so much a purist that I won't plant anything else. (If I was, I wouldn't have any hostas, which are native to Japan!) I also have several other varieties, some of them cultivars, like Freckles, which is white with purple "freckles" but none are quite as untamed. Bird's foot violets, their big and beautiful blooms appearing later in the spring, love the sun and spread slowly (not nearly fast enough for me) but I suppose one of these years I'll be looking at the colony of them and wondering, as I have about other varieties, how on earth did there get to be so many of them?!!
Pretty yellow violets