Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Spring in the Southeastern U.S.

March brings spring to those of us in the Southeastern U.S. The hints come in winter, with the lovely flowering imports from Asia, Turkey, Greece, and elsewhere. Crocus, snowdrops, daffodils, and spring snowflakes are among the bulbs; ornamental apricots flower in January and camellias flower from fall through winter, depending on the species and cultivar.

In good years, Magnolia stellata (Star magnolia) and Magnolia x soulangiana (Saucer magnolia) avoid the late freezes and put on a show. This year is one of those. I don't have a single picture that I've taken of Saucer magnolia (it's pretty enough, but otherwise not all that interesting from a wildlife gardening point of view, and 4 out of 5 years, the flowers get zapped by frost). So here's a photo downloaded years ago from, now Jupiter Images, I think.

But real spring means our ephemeral spring wildflowers: Trilliums, bloodroot, mayapple, Tiarella, Shortia (Oconee Bell), Wild Ginger, and a host of others. And now, the hardwoods are expanding their buds, from the hickories and oaks, to the flowers of sassafras and dogwood, and the really early flowering trees like red maple and winged elm are developing fruits.

A colleague took this lovely photo of Trillium cuneatum at the Garden. It's a remarkably large rosette that has apparently persisted through habitat alteration and path construction, as we just noticed it after a new path was built a couple of years ago.

1 comment:

  1. I love this time of year with the Magnolias blooming. Each one I see is my favorite. The Trillium you show is very interesting.
    Ah spring.


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