Botanical Bliss

The mission of the day was to find a Jack-in-the-Pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum), a woodland dwelling shade plant; evasive, magical and reminiscent of childhood.  Thus I set forth on this mission in the company of another garden addict – a very deadly combination.

We hit three garden nurseries in a row – one that focused on native plants, the second an unplanned stop at a large farm store that sold food in addition to gorgeous botanicals, and the last one set in a niche on a hill and just delightful.  I am buzzing high blissed out  from these wonderful places.  (Also maybe from the orange muffin with piles of orange butter cream frosting on top that we got at the second place).  In any case, I have been floating all weekend…..and a bit lighter in the wallet too.

Unfortunately, we discovered that the pulpits had already finished blooming, so I procured a couple of young ones in the hope that they might naturalize and bloom next spring.  That was OK though, because the Trillium were calling from their pots. Trillium are members of the lily family, native to temperate climates, with three leaves, three petals.  They had ones with purple flowers, dark red flowers, snowy white ones, creamy ones and a yellow that was scented like lemon.  It was just too much to bear.  I ended up with three different varieties and put them in different spots throughout the shade garden to see where they will be happiest and how they will fare, before investing in any more.

The red one (Trillium erectum) supposedly has a flower that stinks like rotting meat.  Its  red color will also attract the beetles and carrion flies that will help pollinate it.  I haven’t tried to smell this one yet and am not sure I want to, especially since the yellow one has such a lovely scent.  At least it is a very small flower.  But that might explain why one of its nicknames is “Stinking Benjamin” (no explanation of why Benjamin though). It is also called birthroot, tri-flower and wake robin.  I think it is stunning.  Its small, dark flower catches the eye on the floor of the shade garden and draws your attention there.

After filling the garden cart with the Jacks, Trillium, Wild Ginger and an Arnica plant, we had to stop and admire the lovely yellow Lady Slippers, which in my opinion are the crème de la crème of the northern shade garden.  When I dream of having the winning lottery ticket, a garden filled with such wonders is part of the master plan……


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11 Responses to Botanical Bliss

  1. planthoarder says:

    They all look so elegant.


  2. Diane says:

    Ok what a lovely day, wish I would have been there with you. I purchased a deep almost maroon trillium I saw when in MA with my daughter in law, we were looking for “aerators” for their frog/fish pond. I’ve had lady slippers here, but they only lasted and bloomed for a couple of years never to be seen again. I’ve had somewhat better luck with dog tooth violets, whos latin name escapes me at this moment. Same with shooting stars. I also have some wonderful pink corydalis that has naturalized quite nicely in surprising places. I love the natives. Enjoy your treasures.


    • daeja's view says:

      They also had Trout Lilies and I should have gotten some of those too. Maybe next year. I remember them growing in the shade by a stream that fed a large pond where I used to live. You would find Trout Lilies and red efts among the ferns. That was a long time ago. I haven’t seen a red eft in years.


  3. Diane says:

    Since I have dry bony soil here, many of those treasure I have tried have expired…..I still have a few fern, some years (wet ones) I see them, but other years, they lie dormant. So much of my garden now is about being deer proof, and choices are not necessary what I like best, but what will live in my environment, and not be eaten. My solomons seal does pretty well, as do naturalized aquilegia and mertensia. Have a couple of nice bunches of pulmonaria and alchemilla. I share…..


  4. Karen says:

    It was a magical time and the icing was coming home after shopping and finding out that a volunteer Jack in the Pulpit is blooming by the fence! I want to go meandering the woods for lady slippers!!!


  5. Diane says:

    Just be careful girls, if you go finding and digging ladyslippers, don’t get caught as I believe it is illegal to dig them from the wild. I did it once, but it was from our own property in the Adironacks.


    • daeja's view says:

      Oh, don’t worry, the ones found are only to be admired in their natural state. The native nursery actually sold potted ones, but they cost a fortune.


      • Diane says:

        I know they are quite spendy. I actually saw some that were more affordable in an obscure catalog or something, but can’t remember what it was. I think it was a native flower nursery in Maine or somewhere. I know I purchase some tiarella and mayapples from them for the cabin. If I come across it, I’ll send you the name of the place. You have me thinking now.


  6. Beautiful photos. You make me wish I like to play in the dirt…


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