Erythroniums Take the Springtime Stage

Erythronium tuolumnense

Erythronium tuolumnense

It seems that all our spring flowers are determined to come at the same time.  They are like children at the supper table competing for our attention.  At this moment the trout lilies or fawn lilies are jumping up and down with beautiful individual flowers that will be here for all too short a time.  This is the first year that the above Tuolumnense fawn lily has bloomed for us.  It has been used in hybridizing other Erythroniums, in particular the highly successful ‘Pagoda’, and I can understand why.  It’s a brilliant yellow that contrasts with the fallen leaves that cover the ground below it.

We began growing the common trout lily (cf. the mottled leaves similar to trout markings), sometimes called dogtooth violet because of the shape of the bulb, years ago when we were building a raised bed around the deck.  The constrained area leads to an annual extravagant annual flowering.

Erythronium americanum

Erythronium americanum

Erythronium americanum flower

Erythronium americanum flower

When I planted some of these same plants in the woods they have succeeded dramatically, spreading by underground stolons every year.  I have six such patches, but not a single flower.  My theory is that since they can make marvelous progress underground they seem to see little reason to flower.  Fortunately the new species I’ve planted in the yard are more cooperative.  This year we had the first flowers from two species.

Erythronium dens-canis 'Rose Queen'

Erythronium dens-canis ‘Rose Queen’

Erythronium japonicum

Erythronium japonicum

Notice the fine drawing on the interior of the E. Japonicum tepals.  Almost as if someone were trying to remember that these flowers are related to tulips.  There are more Erythroniums to come but I think this may be my new favorite.

Flowering at the same time as trout lilies almost every year are the bloodroot.  It’s just like clockwork.

Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis)

Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis)

Within two days or so these will have come an gone, followed by lovely and distinctive leaves that get to be be quite large.  However, there is a double version that has a much longer stay and it’s exquisitely beautiful as well.

Sanguinaria canadensis 'Multiplex'

Sanguinaria canadensis ‘Multiplex’

Sanguinaria canadensis 'Multiplex' spreading

Sanguinaria canadensis ‘Multiplex’ spreading

Think of them as miniature peonies that multiply with no care or upkeep…

There is a lot of other activity in the garden right now and no way that I could capture it all.  But I should include just a little update on some of those hepaticas that I featured previously.  The lovely little Hepatica japonica ‘Wakakusa’ has opened its double petals even further and has lost nothing in the process.

Hepatica japonica 'Wakakusa'

Hepatica japonica ‘Wakakusa’

At the same time I found a little seedling from Thimble Farms that has a dark purple coloring that I haven’t had here before.

Hepatica japonica 'Thimble Farms Purple Seedling'

Hepatica japonica ‘Thimble Farms Purple Seedling’

And I also have the first flowering of a seedling from Hillside Nursery with a very pretty pink and white coloration.

Hepatica japonica 'Hillside Pink-White Seedling'

Hepatica japonica ‘Hillside Pink-White Seedling’

Lastly I have a birthday gift to share.  I was given three Arisaemas that are very striking in the new garden.

Arisaema taiwanense

Arisaema taiwanense

Marvelous coloration — these are really fun to watch.

One comment on “Erythroniums Take the Springtime Stage

  1. Frank

    Beautiful pictures of the trout lilies….. but the bloodroot and hepaticas, Wow!