Everybody knows Lisa is the real thing when it comes to plants, and maybe that’s why she has Solomon’s Seal in her shade garden and I just have False Solomon’s Seal in mine.
Her flowers are beautiful, it’s true. (See photo in her recent blog.) But I love my False Solomon’s Seal. It’s not something I chose and planted. It’s one of those woodsy wild things that have volunteered to be a part of our yard for the last few decades, and grow prettier every year. (See my photo.)
Now you can see white flowers unfurling at the top of a graceful ladder of leaves. Soon you will see beautiful red berries that change to a burnished gold and last a long time in our garden.
Wild flowers that appear by magic have always been favorites of mine, and so I was especially delighted this weekend when I discovered jack-in-the-pulpit blooming in my son’s back yard. His little boys were enchanted to discover a tiny Jack standing straight under each graceful canopy.
Behind my girlhood home on Colony Road was a beech forest where we found plenty of jack-in-the-pulpits this time of year. We loved trying to make them “preach.” We explored secret places where delicate pink lady slippers grew each spring. We loved the expanse of identical green umbrellas under which the May flowers bloomed. To this day I can smell the peculiar odor of the green apple that formed when the white-and-orange flowers dropped. Along the damp edges of Happy Creek were tall purple marsh violets, my personal favorite.
It wasn’t till one of our daughters moved to Rockbridge Country, though, that I fell in love with trillium. A certain curve in the hilly road revealed a scarf of white trillium flowers spread over the shoulder the forest floor. Their three petals were more gorgeous than ever when they aged into a deep pink.
Since no trillium had volunteered to grow naturally in our garden, we bought two plants at the Virginia Living Museum a few years back. Watching them come up, bloom white, and then age pink is now a spring ritual on our morning “walkabouts” with coffee mugs in hand.
And speaking of childhood flower friends, as well as white flowers that turn pink, we have a gigantic snowball bush (viburnum) that I started from a piece of my mother’s. This year I noticed for the first time how they turned a very pretty shade of pink before the petals shattered to the ground. At their flowering height, the blooms were so huge that they towered over our parked car in the driveway, and prompted my husband to look out the window in consternation and ask if that was cauliflower on the roof of his diesel Mercedes!