As a gardeners and plant nerds, Earth Day is the day everyone else notices what we see everyday in the wonders of Mother Nature. In celebration of this day, here are native flowers in their untouched natural environment that we found over the weekend. This is a protected valley located in the heart of Clintonville, Ohio that when we visited two years ago was filled with waves of blue flowers (Blue Squill). We have been visiting periodically this spring to catch the blooms and photograph. However, this weekend we found a better surprise, a mix of four Ohio natives in blooming waves of white, yellow, blue and purple.
The valley has a number of invasive plants like wild garlic mustard and honeysuckle that the local community has been helping to manage, but still these native plants continue to thrive. It is also a reminder how quickly things change during spring and how you should carry your camera at all times because what is blooming today, might be done tomorrow.
Trout Lily -Erythronium americanum
Marsh Marigold-Caltha palustris
Dutchman’s Breeches – Dicentra cucullaria
Dutchman’s Breeches – Dicentra cucullaria
Virginia bluebells- Mertensia virginica
Virginia bluebells- Mertensia virginica with a pink and blue bloom
Cercis canadensis- Eastern Redbud & Virginia bluebells- Mertensia virginica
Spring has finally arrived in Ohio. With three warm sunny days in arrow, we have dried out from the early April showers. This weather should have you excited to plant your spring containers, if you have not already. If you are still looking for some inspiration, peruse the options on Container Gardens: Spring + Summer. Together with terrain, I have complied some of my favorite container designs from Pinterest to provide you some great inspiration to welcoming spring. As a bonus, terrain is offering a $500 gift card giveaway if you repin your favorite container design from the board. The giveaway ends April 25, but don’t wait too long to plant your containers and it will be time for summer color. Here are some direct links to enter:
- Here is a link directly to the board: HERE
- You can also pin directly from terrain’s site: HERE
Some quick ideas for building your spring containers: More than just Pansies. We use a lot of pansies in containers, they are great for color, price and resiliency to spring’s temperamental weather. But build a container with more than just pansies. Try an evergreen or edible like kale to mix up the texture and dimension to the container. The container below includes some topiaries underplanted with pansies and a few deep pink heuchera to play off the mauve of the pansies. This was photographed and planted the same day, but in a few weeks the heuchera will have a bigger presence.
Look for unique containers. These can either be vintage containers or items not initially intended to be planters. I like to look for old barrels in either wood, galvanized or steel. The come in all sizes, but generally have a large scale or top opening to fill with with numerous plants. Remember to drill a hole in the bottom for draining before planting. Below is a vintage grape crate from terrain.
I will share some more container designs from this spring later this week, and reminders to pin to win!
Happy first day of April! March went by quickly, but that is generally true for every month in Ohio expect for February. March went by with cleaning up and prepping gardens for Aprils showers and warmer weather. We do some planting in April, but the frost in Ohio makes it difficult on some plant varieties. Another great thing for gardeners to do in April is visit local garden club, arboretum and plant society sales. These are the best resource for unique, native or difficult to find plants. I posted last year on this topic. I don’t want to be redundant, but this year I am ahead of the major sales so want to share some more tips and remind you (and myself) to mark your calendars.
WHEN: Depending on the part of the country, lot of the sales start in April, run into May with a few repeating again in the fall. Last year I visited the Chadwick Arboretum (May 7-9) and the Granville Garden Club’s Daffodil Sale (April 18-19). I missed the Dawes Arboretum Sale (May 16).
HOW TO FIND: Start with checking the websites of local Arboretums and Conservatories. Here is a database search by ZIP CODE from the American Horticulture Society. Another great resource would be to check local master gardeners or garden clubs. Here is a link (also from the American Horticulture Society for Master Garden clubs by State. And here is a link to find garden clubs in your state too, via the National Garden Clubs website. You can also do a good old Google search for “Plant sale” and your area’s name and see the results.
AT THE SALE TIPS:
- These sales often have wagons you can use, but if its a popular sale (like Trade Secrets) it might help to bring your own wagon. However please be courteous while pulling in crowds, I have received (and given) a few bruised shins in the past.
- Plants are grouped by type, seller or both. Know the site conditions you are looking to fill (sun/shade/soil/water), since this will help you narrow down where to look and save you for making a purchase that is not successful in your garden.
- Use your phone to search images and care information on plants you are not knowledgeable. Often these are cuttings from someone’s personal garden or the arboretum so don’t include those informational tags at nurseries, just the plant name. And there are tons of knowledgeable plant people around so ask them questions.
IF YOU MISS THE SALES: Don’t worry, go to your local nursery as early as possible to get the best selection. If you purchase a plant before your frost free date, protect the them with old sheets at night when there is a potential for frost.
I hope everyone is able to get out to at least one sale this year, or like me try to visit as many as you can.