May Lilies

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May Lilies beneath Salmonberries

May lily is an apt name for this little woodland groundcover, as the flowers reliably open in early May here in the lowlands of western Washington. It’s also called false lily-of-the-valley because of its resemblance to that common garden plant. In technical terms, it’s known as Maianthemum dilatatum.

Whatever you call them, May lilies are one of those plants I look forward to seeing in bloom each spring. Continue reading

Slugs and Snails and Ferns and Flowers

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Spreading Wood Ferns

Yesterday evening Brian and I meandered slowly through our woods along what we variously call the new trail, the short trail, or the creek trail. Maybe we’ll nail down a name for it one of these days. But the trail name doesn’t matter so much. It’s the woodland path closest to the house, but we don’t walk it as frequently as some of our other trails. We walked less than 100 yards as we found much to observe and enjoy in the hour we spent.

These spreading wood ferns (Dryopteris expansa) are right beside the trail at the base of an old and decaying stump. True to their name, this fern seems happiest growing on rotting wood. People often confuse it with lady fern (Athyrium filix-femina), another common fern that grows in our woods. Continue reading

Last Light in the Garden

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Thimbleberries, Snowberries at base of Paper Birch trunks

With long days this time of year we don’t often get in from working in the garden until 7:30 or so and then we’ll have dinner as we watch the late afternoon night move and shift on the woodland border at the back of the garden. Last night was no exception, and as soon as dinner was finished I headed back out to capture a bit of the magic.

This cluster of paper birches (Betula papyrifera) is at the edge of our woods. It’s a favorite place, and a favorite photo subject nearly year-around. Now that the thimbleberries have leafed out it’s at peak. Continue reading

A Sparkling Morning

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Fringecup lines woodland path

I was out early this morning. Well, not so early that the sun wasn’t up, but early enough that it was still low in the sky and the dew lay undisturbed upon the garden and our woods. I embraced the cool, still air and ambled down the path from our lawn and into the woods with my camera on my shoulder. It’s a nice way to start the day, but something that has yet to become a habit. Continue reading

Fringecup and Piggy-back Plant

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Fringecup

Fringecup (Tellima grandiflora) and Piggy-back Plant (Tolmiea menziesii) are two common woodland wildflowers that have just come into bloom at our place in the last few days. That’s Fringecup in the photo above, along with some foliage from Enchanter’s Nightshade, some May Lilies on the left, and a bit of Bugleweed in the background.

Both of these common plants are in the saxifrage family (Saxifragaceae) and people often confuse them, particularly when they’re not in flower. Now that they’re blooming it’s easy to tell them apart by their blossoms. Continue reading

Red Elderberry

Red-flowering Currant, Red Elderberry at woodland edge

Red elderberry, Sambucus racemosa, flowers are peaking in our woods and woodland border right now. This medium-sized Pacific Northwest native shrub puts on quite a show when she’s in bloom, covered in masses of somewhat pyramid-shaped clusters of small white flowers. In the photo above of the woodland border in our garden, made a couple of weeks ago on April 12, the flowers have yet to emerge among the newly unfolding leaves. The showy red flowers are red-flowering currant, Ribes sanguineum, blooming below the elderberry.

We’ve been watching our elderberries develop all month as they come into flower, and now as the flowers begin to fade. Continue reading

Serviceberry Time

Serviceberries

One of the great things about being confined to our home is to watch the near-daily changes in our garden since we can’t go far afield to catch the blossoms somewhere else. The flowers that were in full bloom just a week ago are fading and new ones are taking their place. Right now, it’s the serviceberries (Amelanchier alnifolia) that are putting on their spring show.

The serviceberries are the white flowers in the photo. Behind them are the brilliant yellow flowers of golden currant (Ribes aureum). Both shrubs are native to Washington state, although the currant is an east of the mountains species. Also starting to bloom is great camas (Camassia leichtlinii), another Pacific Northwest native.
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Trillium Season is Winding Down

Sweet Woodruff w/ Giant Purple Wakerobins

We’re getting to the end of the season for trillium blossoms in our garden and woodland. It’s been a wonderful run for these favorite wildflowers this spring. In the photo above, our Giant Purple Wakerobins (Trillium kurabayashii) are beginning to look a little bedragled in the petal department, although the foliage is still fresh. The white flowers just beginning to open are the non-native Sweet Woodruff, Galium odoratum.

These flowers have been looking good since early March. I photographed them the first time this year on March 18 and shared the photos in a blog post on March 24, a full month ago. I have trouble thinking of another perennial flower that stays looking good for this long. Continue reading