Spring Flower: Wild Geranium

Wild geranium (Geranium maculatum)
Wild geranium (Geranium maculatum)

Wild geranium is, for a native woodlander, relatively easy to grow from seed. The seedlings are sturdy and the more robust among them will flower in their second year. Collecting the seed is the painstaking part: the seeds do not all ripen at the same time, and as soon as they are fully ripe, they are dispersed from the plant via a spring-loaded mechanism.

Although usually considered a woodland flower, wild geraniums flowers most abundantly, and the plants grow better, where they can get quite a bit of sun. Light, dappled shade under high canopy trees or the unshaded, east side of a house are good sites for this flower. In sufficient sun, the leaves may colour attractively in the fall.


Still waiting for Spring…

Yesterday we saw our first red-winged blackbird of the year. Our first male cardinal was singing a couple of weeks ago. Blue jays in the woods are calling their melodious courtship songs that are so unlike their harsh everyday caws. We saw our first turkey vulture of the season at the side of the highway last week. Spring will come.

Reading garden blogs during the winter was great fun. These past couple of weeks, it has been, um, shall we say, less fun.   While gardeners in in mid-Atlantic states are posting lovely pictures of their daffodils and hellebores, the best I can do in western Quebec is pretty frost flowers. When even folks in Michigan are blogging about turning their compost piles, it is mighty frustrating to still have two feet of snow. The snow is soggy and rapidly diminishing but big piles still remain. The forecast for last Thursday had been 9°C and rain, and I hoped that the spring chorus of amphibians would begin, but on the actual day, it was colder and the pools were still frozen over. Maybe next week…

My favourite frog, the wood frog, breeds in ephemeral vernal pools and in ephemeral vernal pools only. We see adult wood frogs from time to time in the garden, but I have not heard the quacking of breeding wood frogs on the farm in early spring. Our farm pond, home to a great many green frogs, is spring-fed and present year round. I believe the shallow spring pools in the woods dry too quickly to allow wood frog tadpoles to mature. Fortunately, there is a deep but ephemeral pool beside the gate of the next farm. As soon as there is open water, even before all the ice has gone, the wood frogs will be calling there.

A wood frog in the garden last summer.
A wood frog in the garden last summer.


White Ideas for Spring


Ever since Vita Sackville-West created the White Garden at Sissinghurst Castle, all-white gardens have been popular. However, the several centimetres of new snow we received today, the first full day of spring, are not quite in the right spirit; a little too much white, if you get my drift. To give the weather gods a few more ideas for white themed gardens, here are some photos of other possible spring whites:

Serviceberry (Amelanchier sp.)
White trout lily
White trout lily (Erythronium albidum)
White trillium (Trillium grandiflorum)
White trillium (Trillium grandiflorum)
Hepatica (Hepatica acutiloba)
Twinleaf (Jeffersonia diphylla)
Cut-leaf Toothwort (Dentaria laciniata)
Field chickweed
American field chickweed (Cerastium strictum)