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:
Rue-Anemone (Thalictrum thalictroides syn. Anemone thalictroides). Photographed on the Niagara Escarpment near Dundas, Ontario, May 9th, 2011.
In Canada, rue-anemone is restricted to the Carolinian zone of southern Ontario, and it is not common there. It is a true spring ephemeral, disappearing after it sets seeds and spending the summer as a small tuber. Garden varieties of rue-anemone, with pink or pale blue flowers, or double petals, are lovely in shady rock gardens, but I have found them to be a bit miffy, unless one can give them a nice loose, woodsy soil.
The wild rue-anemone in the photo was growing in close proximity to another low-growing ephemeral woodland anemone, wood anemone (Anemone quinquefolia). Wood anemone is also Carolinian, with a slightly larger range, and is more common. It can form large patches in rich deciduous woods, to charming effect.