Shade-Loving Spring Bloomers
I have a friend who lives just north of me close to Orillia and the other day she sent me some photos of the spring that has finally made its way to her neck of the woods. And she literally lives in the woods. I thought this would be a good opportunity to share some of her woodland flower photos with you and talk just briefly about them.
The classic 3-petaled white flower is Ontario’s official flower. If you’re ever out for a woodland walk in the spring, you’ll likely notice them scattered about (or perhaps in hoards like the ones in the photo below). They’re a sight to see when they’re all in bloom. You may also run into the red version that usually has a much smaller flower in comparison to the leaves. Sometimes they crossbreed and you end up with a pink trillium. They really are quite stunning en masse.
The downward-facing yellow flower of the Trout Lily is surrounded by mottled green and brown leaves. Spreading by runners rather than by seed, if planted, you will notice them forming colonies. The flowers are fairly short-lived, lasting about a week and the plant itself will begin to go back into dormancy within two to three weeks.
Hepatica flowers can be pink, purple, blue, or white. The leaves are usually mottled with darker green or a shade of brown. The low-growing flowers stand up and away from the leaves which remain fairly close to the ground. If you look closely, you’ll see the unopened flower buds covered in a soft fuzz.
Spring blooming forest plants need mostly the same conditions: shade to partial shade, rich soils that drain well but receive plenty of water. It’s a difficult condition to recreate on your own property but not impossible. Surplus amounts of finished compost will help to increase the soil’s nutritional quality, ability to retain moisture and to some degree will help with drainage if you live with clay soils.
If you would like to add these plants to your garden, seek them out as plants from a nursery that guarantees the plants are not taken from the wild. Or, the easier alternative is to get out and enjoy the spring walks. We’ve been waiting a long time for this, Canada. Make the most of it for another year.