Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Flowers Before the Frost

Here are some more wildflowers I found blooming out in the yard yesterday.

Twinleaf, Jeffersonia diphylla, among the hardest wildflowers to catch blooming. The flower only opens for ~8 hours sometimes lasting over night if you're lucky before the petals abruptly shed off. Seriously someone needs to develop one with a longer blooming period. I feel like a double flowering variety would be welcomed for this species!

The flowers come up with the first few leaves and opens a few days before they do. The seedpod resembles a green fleshy acorn. They need to grow in a slightly moist location or otherwise get watered in the garden periodically in order for the seed pod to develop. It can't be too wet though as I found out; I transplanted one to a wetter location and I don't believe it survived the winter sadly. 

I actually have a bunch of Hepatica planted in the yard. I assumed they were all white or slightly pink, but this one seems to be almost a lavender tone. I'm hoping they'll self seed around a little and in a few years I'll get the deep blue shades that are so pretty.

Trillium luteum is the first Trillium species in my garden to start flowering. (Others I photographed earlier were at the Mt. Cuba Center.) This is among the easier Trilliums to grow, and better smelling too. Actually most Trilliums don't smell at all but some can wreak of fermented apples, or dead fish. T. luteum actually smells faintly of oranges, and is very pleasing. The petals are currently a bright green but they slowly turn yellow.

And now the bad news... It's dropping down to freezing tonight, it's supposed to snow lightly, and at the very least we're going to get a frost. I'm curious to see what survives.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Golden Net-wing Beetle

Dictyoptera aurora, Golden Net-wing Beetle. The adult stage is mostly active for about two months in the springtime. The grubs are predators of other insects. These are found around conifer forests... suggesting that I may have planted one too many trees in my yard.

It's something of a mystery to me that I haven't noticed this species in my yard before. We have a pine tree, which I didn't plant. It was a "gift" my brother gave my mom at the age of 5, though I'm sure my dad helped there. We aren't that close to the pine barrens or too many stands of pine trees, so I'm wondering it it took 25+ years for our one evergreen tree to become substantial enough to attract this species to my yard.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Well Deserved Wildflowers

After the winter we had, it's time for some well deserved wildflowers.

Hepatica sp., Liver Leaf, so named because of the shape and spotting on it's leaves. This is often a semi-evergreen with last year's leaves finally rotting away just as it flowers. New leaves will soon emerge.

They come in Pink, Purple, Blue, and White. This was the first time I'd seen anything other than white though.

Bloodroot, Sanguinaria canadensis. A member of the poppy family. They flower before the leaf uncurls, clasping it perhaps to hold it up.

They offer an abundance of pollen to pollinators but are lacking in the nectar department. Note how few petals this one has.

Note how many petals this one has. There are double flowering forms that have twice the petals to them, though I'm not entirely certain this is a good example of that as I've seen them with more.

A non-native Windflower, Anemone blanda, I must admit these are very attractive.

They look similar to Bloodroot but come in the same colors as Hepatica.

Anemone blanda, is another nonnative that's a bit more colorful than the native counterpart.

False Rue Anemone, Enemion biternatum, has an ordinary looking white flower but what it lacks in color it makes up for with thick foliage, forming a dense carpet of leaves with flowers all around.

Corydalis sp. flowering unusually early.

Cardamine diphylla, Toothwort.

Claytonia virginica, Spring Beauty.

Jeffersonia diphylla, Twinleaf. Among the hardest wildflowers to witness in bloom. The flowers open and quickly shed their petals 8 hours later.

Trout Lily, Erythronium americanum. These form vast colonies of mostly single leaves in the springtime. It's said that less than 1% of the population will flower on a given year. I'm told growing them on hard stones, so their roots can't grow too deep, is enough to stress them into flowering. Blooming can otherwise take 15+ years to happen! (For those that get tired of waiting, the bulbs are edible.)

Trillium pusillum, Small Trillium... which is actually not the smallest species of Trillium but it is pretty small at around 6 inches.

I love the little hint of pink on the anthers.

Trillium nivale, Snow Trillium. This one is actually FINISHING it's bloom period!    

It's among the shortest species of Trillium there is, and pretty much after flowering it just wants to lay down.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Katydid Eggs

I was just out inspecting some of the shrubs in the yard when I came across some Katydid Eggs. These will eventually become the great big (usually green) grasshopper-like insects that hang around trees and make noises at night over the summer. Click the link for more True Facts about the Katydid.

I found them on one of our Flame Azaleas, Rhododendron calendulaceum.