The Magic of Trilliums

Half of my woodland garden came into being because of a patch of trilliums. Eight years ago I discovered trilliums growing near a "dog trot" trampled through the weeds in an area adjacent to the woodland garden. Well, now. Trilliums are pretty special. Before the year was over, I had widened the trail into a real path so that I could easily access those trilliums. I connected the path to the main woodland garden and started adding ferns, native azaleas, Japanese maples, camellias, and all sorts of other woodland plants to the space. Eventually I created a new sitting area and had an enormous "sitting rock" hauled in as a focal point. All because of a patch of trilliums... 

Trilliums are rhizomatous, deciduous perennials native to North America. They grow in deep to partial shade in well-drained, loamy soil high in organic matter. There are over 30 different species. They all have a whorl of three leaves from which arises a solitary, three-petaled flower. The leaves and flower colors will vary by species. They are often described as spring ephemerals, meaning that they come up each spring, then quickly bloom and produce seed. By mid-summer the leaves have withered, and only the unseen underground parts remain. The seeds produce small fruits that attract ants. The ants help to spread the trillium seeds by carrying the fruits to their nest. They eat the fruits but discard the seeds as trash. If the soil is suitable, the seed will germinate.

Trillium cuneatum, also called Toadshade, the wood lily or Sweet Betsy, grows wild on my property.

This trillium is native to the southeastern US. I love its maroon flowers, as well as its variegated leaves and striking maroon stems. However, trillium "leaves" are actually bracts supporting the flower, and the "stem" is actually an extension of the horizontal, underground rhizome.

One should never pick trilliums. Some trilliums are endangered, and picking may be illegal. If the leaf-like bracts are picked, the trillium is unable to produce food for next year, and it will die. Always purchase nursery-raised trilliums from reputable garden shops. They should never be dug from the wild.

I think the best way to enjoy trilliums is use them as an excuse to take a nature walk with friends and relatives and to photograph them!


You may also enjoy reading my older post about how I began this part of my woodland garden:  A New Woodland Path


Mid-spring in Deb's Garden, 2018

I heard a commentator on the radio say that winter is like a grumpy old man, arguing and complaining about everything. You heave a sigh of relief as he finally starts to leave. But as he is going out the door, he turns back and says, "Oh, and one more thing..." 

We are well into mid-spring now, but with temps still sometimes dropping near freezing, I have not been able to plant summer annuals or veggies or put my potted tropical plants outdoors. But it won't be long. Meanwhile, spring flaunts its glorious colors, and the world is alive with new growth and fresh flowers.Young bloom of Rosa rugosa 'Alba' - a wonderfully fragrant species rose.Trees are green again. We have had plenty of rain (and some weeds grow two feet overnight). I enjoy the cool mornings and temperate afternoons. I am busy, busy, busy!

Here are some recent scenes around the garden. I wish you could also feel the crisp breeze, hear the birds chirp and the bees buzz, and smell the fragrances of fresh earth, pine straw and sweet blooms!

George Lindley Taber azaleas

Young blooms of Snowball Viburnum

Snowball Viburnum grows behind the pink birdhouse.

Clockwise from upper left: Native azalea; Snowball Viburnum; Late-blooming daffodil; Calycanthus floridus 'Athens' - it smells like ripe bananas.

Clockwise from left: Cornus Florida 'Cherokee Princess'; Aquilegia vulgaris (old fashioned Granny's Bonnet Columbine); Clematis 'H F Young.'

Heuchera 'Caramel'

I have forgotten the unpronounceable name of this Japanese maple I obtained from former Auburn head football coach Pat Dye, but I love its variegated pink foliage.

A scene in the front garden. The beautiful heuchera in front was a bargain find at the end of last summer that had no tag. I wish I knew its name, as I want to buy more!I hope you enjoyed a peek at my mid-spring garden. Blessings to you all!  Deb