Sunday, April 25, 2010

Mother Nature's Garden

If I consider my knowledge of shade plants to be lacking, my knowledge of wildflowers and natives is even worse. My last two gardens have been around new construction. New construction in both cases on land that had been farm fields. No trees means no shade. And years of row crop cultivation means no native plants (and in the case of the last garden, thanks to the developer, no topsoil, but that's an entirely different story).

Now I own an acre of land in a suburb of Milwaukee. An acre of which nearly half is in a wooded, "natural" state (read bit of an overgrown mess). The first week we were here one of the neighbors stopped by to introduce himself. In the course of conversation he pointed out that there were trillium in some of the wooded areas. I'm thrilled to discover there's several more patches dotted all around the woods. Some fairly close to the "cultivated" areas. I'm wise enough to leave them where they naturally choose to grow. But still smile knowing that *I* am growing trillium. I'm guessing these are Trillium flexipes.

I found a couple of patches of another little darling. But have no clue to it's identity.

And of course, the May Apples (Podophyllum peltatum ). Lots and lots of May Apples.

I've always been fond of May Apples. Even from afar they reminded me of little umbrellas for fairies. This is the first year I've been able to view them up close. They first emerge as a tight little mass, and then slowly unfurl.

The flags through the May Apples mark the boundaries of the pet "fence" which keeps my cat and dog in the yard. This of course, does not prevent other animals from entering the yard. We have an opossum which frequents under our deck. Last week as I left for a pre-dawn plane flight, the cat snuck out.  My husband and son were awoken by a growling scream to discover a large red fox had cornered the cat (who has lost her out side in the dark priviledges). But the best was the deer last summer that seemed to love tormenting the dog by calming eating foliage just outside of invisible fence line. Excuse the picture clarity - all I had was my phone, and couldn't get close because I didn't want to scare the deer. As if that is possible, here in the wild, wild woods of suburbia!

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