6 early native spring wildflowers for shade
MY GARDEN, LIKE MOST (and like the assortment at the garden center), is a jumble of non-native and native plants. But at the moment of early spring, a half-dozen Eastern wildflowers take my breath away. In a slideshow, six easy, captivating natives for the woodland or shade garden.
- Twinleaf, Jeffersonia diphylla: Delicate and fleeting white flowers, but I love this plant from the moment it emerges from the ground, all purple-bronze (thanks to pigments called anthocyanins—read about why plants disguise themselves with non-green pigments in early spring).
- Virginia bluebells, Mertensia virginica: Invite a few bluebells into your garden and you will soon have more. (Photo below.)
- Celandine poppy, Stylophorum diphyllum: Great foliage, great fuzzy seedpods—and of course great golden flowers from early spring and on and off into summertime if they’re happy. (Photo above.)
- Wake robin, Trillium erectum: You have to love the vivid color red this one outfits itself in, despite an otherwise-pastel spring garden. Tough as can be—and I even divide mine in spring, like this.
- Large-flowered bellwort, Uvularia grandiflora (top photo): As many years as I have known, and grown, this yellow-flowered gem, I don’t think I have ever failed to be startled by its intricate construction. I call it merry bells, but who knows if that’s the common name of this species or one of its cousins. The sight of these blooms makes me happy, so the name seems apt.
- Blue cohosh, Caulophyllum thalictroides: This one hasn’t bloomed yet, but as with the twinleaf, I’m captivated by it from the first foliar hint poking through the soil—in this case a stunning purple. Yellowish flowers follow, and then the handsome round blue fruits.
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