Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Native plants in May

Back at the BBG again...I really wanted to hop the fence and lie down on this soft green slope.

I love the canopy that a big colony of May apples makes. Looking at them like this, from above, you'd never suspect what each stalk is hiding under its frilled umbrella:

One perfect white flower, held close to the stalk. I have yet to see the edible fruit that follows the flower; I seem to miss it every time.

The violet above, is tiny, and grew with its feet in mud. I think it is Viola lanceolata, known as Bog violet. My search for its ID led me to Native Florida Wildflowers.

Polygonatum biflorum, native Solomon's Seal. This is another plant I try to use often in shady gardens. Not necessarily great for containers as it looks best in naturalized clumps.

This wild azalea near the entrance to the BBG's Native Garden seems to be Rhododendron austrinum, but its form is very different for the one outside the gate, written about in an earlier post...

Um...I wonder what these are? So subtle, so easily confused with other plants? I like them simply because I've seen them nowhere else, but they don't resonate with me on a gut level. A tiny orchid I saw growing next to stream in Lesotho appealed to me far more. These lady slippers (Cypripedium calceolus) are like slightly over-the-hill show girls: Too much make up, grating voices, drinkers of warm gin. Maybe I'll be converted...with ice, a slice of lemon, anything is possible.

This is one of my favourites: Smilacina racemosa, or False Solomon's Seal. I asked Jim Glover last year whether he had any and he said he would consider growing it this year. I should check in with him. En masse the white flowers are stunning and in fall berries form, extending this shade lover's season of interest.

Not your window box geranium. Light and beautiful Geranium maculatum dominates the lower part of the garden at the moment, and will not re-bloom. Later it will form the typical, beaked seed capsules that give it its common name - cranesbill.

I will keep going back, hopping on the 2 or 3 subways, and riding for ten minutes underground.

New things will keep blooming. I haven't even started on the ferns...


  1. Lovely pictures and I really like that geranium, just a perfect shade of blue!

  2. oh those lady slippers! nice description. although i'd like to try them on in a 36.

    nice field trip once again!

  3. Never saw the False Solomon's Seal before - it's lovely.

  4. I think I saw those Solomon's Seals in Norway last year in the garden where Grieg's composing cottage as. Very beautiful.

  5. re:BBG.
    did you know that the late Dr Stephen Tim was one of the senior Botanist at BBG, a noted illustrator, educated at Rhodes U and nurtured fine Bonsai in a
    <50 sq M hothouse in the Bertrams. He was with Douglas Hall, the original Bonsai Gurus 9 of SA ;-)))


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