Wildflowers Of Spring On A Wednesday*

We are late to the wildflower party. To be honest we used to call many of them weeds and pulled their sweet little roots from the ground to further the growth of purchased exotics. We know now that was wrong. We apologize and won’t do it again. The above sweet little Veronica of some type came from daughter Semi’s garden. Semi is a firm believer in not pulling weeds, wildflowers. We now see her wisdom. Who says the old cannot learn from the young?

Somehow, purchased wildflowers were held in higher esteem than the native ones inherited with the property, like this yellow Trillium luteum from our favorite Mouse Creek Nursery…

…or the red T. cuneatum, Sweet Betsy from the same location.

Passalongs were also considered special treasures, to be carefully tended, like these wild Geranium maculatum from a friend near the mountains on the Tennessee side.

From the North Carolina side of those same Appalachian mountains, good friend and fellow blogger Christopher of Outside Clyde has been quite generous with the natives happily ensconced in the natural setting where he is building his cozy cabin. I had thought the white Trillium grandiflora had disappeared, but it was being engulfed by the above geranium. I nearly missed the blooming until a more thorough search was held after seeing the photos of trilliums on his mountainside.

Christopher also gifted us with a nice clump of Iris cristata, in the palest hue of light blue, even though it looks white in the image. We also have the darker blue version of the same plant, a passalong from dear departed neighbor Mae. She is still sorely missed by all who knew her, but her memory lives on in the multitude of plants she shared with us.

From offspring of offspring MA, son of Chickenpoet came this clump of Columbine canadensis along with the mossy rock. These columbines has self seeded and there are now several patches of it, amongst the other hybrid volunteer columbines in the same area. We love the little red and yellow lanterns the best, for many reasons.

Phlox divaricata was purchased, several times in fact. It has been a tough go getting it to establish, but this clump on the side of the daylily hill has returned and seems healthy.

Not known as a native when purchased, the crossvine, Bignonia capreolata ‘Tangerine Beauty’ is filling in across the top of the large arbor. There is a density of buds and blooms as never seen before, even though this vine has been in the ground for several years. It probably is due to the excellent rainfall received last year. Many plants are showing renewed vigor from previous seasons.

Another blogger and dear friend, Gail has made sure that this plant, Hypoxis hirsuta, yellow star grass has a good foothold at the Fairegarden, bringing one as a hostess gift on her very first visit here in 2008, and three more on her next, last fall. We do appreciate the plant and the visitor.

Speaking of Gail, she has generously offered her favorite and signature plant, PPPP, practically perfect pink Phlox, Phlox pilosa, to all who request it. Except one. But that has been remedied and we are proud to announce that this fabulous plant is now living here as well.

*The gracious Gail of Clay and Limestone has designated the third fourth Wednesday of each month as Wildflower Wednesday. Garden bloggers are a freewheeling bunch and sometimes not good at rule following, so any Wednesday is fair game for this meme. I am sure Gail doesn’t mind. (It is hoped that this is okay, we will wait to hear from Gail on the subject. I would hate to speak out of turn, but have done it before and will probably do it again.)


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38 Responses to Wildflowers Of Spring On A Wednesday*

  1. Beckie says:

    Frances, I love the columbine-such a great bright red to add a pop of color. And the dark trillium is gorgeous. I am so happy PPPP has made it’s way to your gardens. Gail is a force of nature in her own-spreading this beauty far and wide. Like you, I pull ‘weeds’ much more discriminatinly now. Either that I or I have become much more lazy. πŸ™‚

    Hi Beckie, thanks. A force of nature, that is the perfect description of Gail! She gave me a book of wildflowers of Tennessee to push me farther along the path to enlightenment. Now I check the suspected weeds out in the book before declaring war, although we have become quite lazy in that department as well. But let us both say we are just more sensitive to the natives. HA πŸ™‚

  2. Sylvia (England) says:

    Frances, your wildflowers are my exotics! I bought an expensive Trillium grandiflora last autumn but it hasn’t appeared. But I have recently planted some of our native blue bells (Hyacinthoides non-scripta) – lets hope they are happy here.

    Best wishes Sylvia (England)

    Hi Sylvia, that is so true! I have several of your natives growing here, including non scripta and the Primula veris and nearly included them in this post. I have to remember, I am not in England. Yet. πŸ™‚

  3. tina says:

    Looks awesome Frances. Semi is a very wise gardener just like her Mom.

    Thanks Tina. Semi has a friend staying with her that is a UT graduate with a hort major. Her garden now is more weed free than mine. I need that live in gardener. HA πŸ™‚

  4. Randy says:


    Enjoyed the trilliums! We have Geranium maculatum blooming freely all along the open edges of our woods right, now it is giving a better show than most years.

    Thanks Randy. All the wildflowers, well, all the flowers are blooming more freely this year than ever. It has to be the extra rain.

  5. Janet says:

    I think Trillium are interesting plants, very unusual in shape. You have shared some really nice wildflowers with us today. Those dark blue anthers on the Veronica are pretty cool.

    Hi Janet, thanks. That little Veronica is so sweet, I hope someone can identify it. Maybe Gail will.

  6. Les says:

    Wildflowers or weeds, it’s all in the editing. I love Crossvine and am eyeing a spot to put one. So much more exotic looking than many of our other natives.

    So true, Les. The crossvine has so many buds on it, the leaves don’t even show. It has never bloomed like that before. I can’t get a good photo of it, but keep trying. Maybe I need the ladder, lol. πŸ™‚

  7. debbie in knoxville says:

    In the woods at the end of my street are the remains of an old homestead where a prof. of horticulture at UT once lived. The house is no longer there but the spring garden remains, untended. I enjoy it every year, both the planted things and the natives.

    Wow Debbie, what a treasure that garden must be! Lucky you to have it so close. Just goes to show that the plants don’t need us at all. πŸ™‚

  8. Gail says:

    Frances, I am laughing at the force of nature comment, but also at what Les said~he used that four letter word~EDIT! My nemesis for sure or is it! Don’t you love T luteum~~all the trilliums are delightful. I am so glad the grandest of them all reappeared~and, Don, PPPP, looks adorable~so very sorry it took foreverrrrrr to get across the state…What a plant that it survived years in the mail;-) Frances, my dear, thank you for the linkloves and sharing your beautiful shots of fairegarden wildflowers…and joining the celebration. xxgail

    Thanks Gail. That is a good term for you! PPPP is doing so well, it has already doubled in size since planted last week. And yes, to survive that long in the mail was simply miraculous. πŸ™‚

  9. Frances that is the palest pale blue Iris cristata I have ever seen. We do have the white form around here somewhere. It was a recent purchase around the time of your visits so highly unlikely to have been subject to division. Mine was by my new well head and its exact location and survival is now a mystery. I have to wait for them to bloom. I have been eyeying Gail’s PPPP.

    Thanks Christopher, I am positive that iris was a pale blue, it has faded somewhat and the camera just couldn’t get it right. Gail will send you the PPPP, all you need to do is let her know. πŸ™‚

  10. Hi Frances – Our provincial flower here in Ontario is the trillium. We are not allowed to disturb it at all, so it grows wild here. Every spring I drive by a little wooded area in the city that has a great display of these native trilliums. Nice to see them growing in other places too.

    Hi Heather, thanks for visiting. The trilliums are so thrilling to see in the spring. Not too far from here, up in the mountains, the wildflowers are the subject of great tourism with guided hikes.

  11. RainGardener says:

    Frances what a beautiful bunch of wildflowers you have. I love the foliage on your yellow Trillium luteum and the red T. cuneatum. Great collection!

    Thanks RG. Those two are my faves as well, the foliage is a pretty as the flowers. They are more robust than some of the other wildflowers too, always a plus. πŸ™‚

  12. mattisalomaki says:

    Trillium luteum is my favorite of the bunch. you have great backlighting on those leaves. well done. Matti

    Thanks Matti. That is a very healthy plant, the yellow trillium. It was moved a couple of years ago and likes its new home. πŸ™‚

  13. commonweeder says:

    trilliums are such beautiful flowers – and your photo is stunning. You must have a lot of readers who just love looking a beautiful flowers even if they are not ardent gardeners.

    Thanks Pat. I think the readers of Fairegarden are a diverse group, if the search engine terms are any indication! lol πŸ™‚

  14. Rose says:

    So glad you finally have your very own PPPP, Frances! I hesitated to mention on my last post that my own PPPP from Gail is coming up nicely because I didn’t want to make you feel bad:) But I think she’s more than made up for that omission with the other lovely wildflowers she’s shared with you. Lovely trillium!

    Oh Rose, that is so funny! Gail let me stew in my own juices for quite some time about that plant until Don had to step in. I asked her many many times why she didn’t bring it when visiting or send me some, after I have shared quite a few things with her. It was a bit of a joke, actually. Thank you for sparing my feelings! lol

  15. Frances those are beautiful photographs of the wildflowers and passalongs – I really like that name “pass alongs” What a wonderful meme aswell and one I never knew about. I just love taking photos of wildflowers and I have just taken some 30 mins ago and wondered about how to use them on the blog – problem solved now! The trilliums are lovely – a few garden friends have offered me some of theirs in the past but the passalongs have not appeared yet.

    Thanks Rosie. Posting about wildflowers is a good thing on so many levels. Many of us are not familiar with some, lumping them into the weed category for years. The trilliums were never thought of as weeds, however. πŸ™‚

  16. The trilliums and irises have always been favorites, though they are lacking here due to the sun. I do miss my old woodland gardens at a previous house…now so long ago. That’s where I had so many natives.

    Hi Cameron, thanks for visiting. We had an extensive woodland at our other TN house as well, full of treasures including Morels! So long ago, but not forgotten, right? πŸ™‚

  17. Layanee says:

    Must have more trilliums. They are so very unique aren’t they? The native columbine is also a winner. Mine is not yet in bloom but coming along.

    Hi Layanee, thanks for visiting. We love all the wildflowers and trilliums are wonderful, I agree. I know your garden has a beautiful woodland vibe, Gail showed my pictures as well as the postings on your blog. Maybe someday I will see it in person. πŸ™‚

  18. joey says:

    I have many of the same beauties, Frances, and I’m in heaven!

    Hi Joey, thanks for stopping by. Your woodland is a paradise. πŸ™‚

  19. Such beautiful wildflowers Frances. It’s been taking me days to weed out our orchard, because for every plant I pull, I first have to determine if it’s native, or invasive. I have a rule here…can’t pull it, until I ID it. It’s a little slow, but I’m pulling less ‘weeds’. It’s so worth it though to help the natives reclaim their space. I love Trilliums too, and am fortunate to have them here, along with native Iris.

    Thanks for visiting. Your systematic weeding sounds labor intensive but very worthwhile. We have done the same thing over the years, starting out pulling everything we did not plant ourselves, and slowly learning what was good and what was not. The plants considered good have grown exponentially as we have been educated by blogs and books. πŸ™‚

  20. Kyna says:

    Drooling over the wildflowers! Especially the columbine.

    Thanks Kyna, the columbine is a favorite of mine as well. πŸ™‚

  21. Oh, I have wildflowers, and weeds. But today I am featuring baby robins on my blog, I’m afraid.

    I surely enjoyed your post, though.

    Hi Hands, thanks. Baby robins are the cutest thing ever. I will rush right over to check them out. πŸ™‚

  22. Love the Trillium luteum. The foliage alone would make it worth growing.

    Thanks MMD. The foliage is a great bonus for this one, very attractive. The red is nice too. They are both supposed to seed about so maybe there will be offspring since they both bloomed this year. πŸ™‚

  23. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    My goodness you have soo many things blooming now. I can’t wait to gett some of that PPPP from Gail. She was going to send it but it hasn’t arrived just yet. I will be patient.

    There is a lot going on here, Lisa, it is true. I might suggest that you enlist your alter ego and get snotty with Gail to get that PPPP. Worked for me. HA πŸ™‚

  24. Grumpy Gardener says:

    Trying to make me feel inadequate once again, huh, Frances? Well, you succeeded. Thanks for the kerria and other plants. Once they look around at their new digs, they will probably feel cheated.

    Oh you are so funny, Grumpy! Glad to hear everything made the trip okay. They will be quite happy in your lovely garden, but might be homesick for a little while. You will need to sing to them, anything Beatles. πŸ™‚

  25. VW says:

    I’m glad you can appreciate the beauty of all the plants in your garden, natives or not. Nothing native was growing in my yard when we moved in. The most prominant plant around here is Ponderosa pine, but those trees are a bit too large for me yard. Will have to keep an eye out for some natives that will work for me.

    Thanks VW. It is recent, the appreciation for many of the wildflowers that we were lucky enough to inherit with the property. The trilliums and other larger and more well known were purchased or passalongs, we did have sense enough to realize the worth of things like that, but many other smaller flowers, we’re talking tiny, were pulled as weeds. Now we look each one up in the wildflower book to help us better understand their role in the garden. Hope you can find some nice ones for your space. πŸ™‚

  26. Catherine says:

    I’ve really been enjoying these wildflower posts. It’s sure making me more aware of our wildflowers around here, and I’ve already been on the lookout for them both in my garden and at nurseries.
    You’ve got such a beautiful collection in your yard. My oldest daughter just chose a Trillium from a native nursery display at a Spring fair and really impressed the owner with her choice. Now we just hope it eventually will get the size of yours.

    Thanks for visiting, Catherine. Learning about the wildflowers has certainly changed my attitude about the weeds in my garden, and the role they play for the pollinators. It is good to evolve. Creating demand at the nurseries for wildflowers will help get them in stock too. Your offspring are amazingly astute, good job, mom! πŸ™‚

  27. Town Mouse says:

    OH, I would so love to have a trillium! They are pretty much impossible to buy here — well, at least I get to enjoy your photos. Thanks so much for sharing!

    Hi Town Mouse, thanks. The trilliums are rarely seen for sale here except at garden club type plant sales. Mouse Creek is such a treasure, I am doing my best to keep it in the black. πŸ™‚

  28. marmee says:

    i learn something everytime i visit here. i am loving your wildflowers. the trilliums foliage is so interesting looking. i am loving the passalongs airy blooms. of course the pholx looks really “perfect” in your garden as well it should.
    happy wildflower gardening in april.

    Hi Marmee, thanks so much. The trilliums were moved to the back corner a couple of years ago and have flourished there now that the replacement trees for the deceased ferngully, RIP, have grown enough to provide some shade. And I agree, the phlox is the perfect pink plant for Fairegarden. πŸ™‚

  29. Hi Frances

    Love the geranium and the columbine is just beautiful.

    Hi Rob, thanks. Those two are especially nice, the lavender and red/yellow look very nice together in fact. I hope they both self sow all over the place. The geranium already has. πŸ™‚

  30. Wow, your trillium have just interesting colors and variegation! Also love that crossvine.

    Thanks Monica. Those two trilliums do have great foliage, adding the length of time they offer interest before finally going dormant in the heat of summer. The crossvine is amazing, it will bloom until frost. One of these days it will cover the whole length of the arbor, and maybe drip down like a curtain, I hope. πŸ™‚

  31. Your wildflowers are lovely, Frances. You’re inspiring me to grab the camera and go for a hike. I was so surprised to see the wild columbine! I grow it in a very dry area. I guess I expected your gardens to be too ‘kind’ of an environment for that little beauty.

    Thanks Kate. That is high praise, inspiring a wildflower hike for you. The columbine loves it dry, but is having the best year ever with the higher rainfall levels. Our garden is unimproved soil, although that area under the large maple ferngully is nice and loamy with many years of fallen leaves untended, except for the veggie bed which gets the best treatment possible. πŸ™‚

  32. I just love seeing what kind of wildflowers grow in different parts of the world. The little blue flower on the Veronica is my favorite πŸ™‚

    Thanks Noelle, for being curious about the wildflowers of other areas. We should all take a lesson from your book! The little veronica could be considered a weed by some, but the flower is just blue enough for a second look. πŸ™‚

  33. A lovely post which was more about friends than wildflowers. Isn’t it nice to travel the garden and find friends nearby? I used to pull up wildflowers too. I have since learned their value. On the Phlox divaricata, it can be really hard to establish. I have acidified my soil a bit with shredded leaves, and it seems to love it here now.~~Dee

    Thanks Dee. So many of these wildflowers are not available for sale anywhere, passalongs is the only way to get them, making for a friendly trip down memory lane when that area is perused. As for the phlox, it grows rampantly just down the street from us in a shady yard with a little creek of storm water runoff. Guess we are too well drained for it, but a small clump has returned so there is hope. Glad you were able to get it going, it is so sweet, like you. πŸ™‚

  34. noel says:


    everything looks georgious with your native wildflowers and pass a longs this morning…so much to be said about how natives do so well and thrive in their natural habitat

    Hi Noel, thanks. Some of our natives are very tough, since I have been pulling them for years and they still return. Now I see the light! πŸ™‚

  35. Just today I received a pkg in the mail from a wildflower nursery where I ordered a trillium (just 1)-because I’ve wanted one for so long (well, really only since learning about them through garden blogging, which has been about a year and a half now). It’s Trillium recurvatum and has an interesting red flower. I had ordered a bunch of Asclepias (4 varieties) to have for the monarchs since I couldn’t get any to grow from seed, and while I was at it, added a few things like the Trillium, some Hepatica nobilis (another one I’ve ‘always’ wanted (for the past year and 1/2!)) — and a couple of others which I won’t bore you with here. I don’t think I’ll be able to add a post to Gail’s WW at this point, but maybe if I get photos, even if they aren’t in bloom next month, I can still do a post on them then. I enjoyed all of your wildflowers.

    Ooh, those sound perfect, Jan. I love the Hepatica, had it in our first garden in Pennsylvania, over twenty five years ago. You will love them both. How funny to add the things to the main order, impulse buys! I do it too, wondering about some of the things ordered when they arrive, not remembering them at all. I am sure you could post about them whenever you want. Rules are made to be broken, blogging rules anyway. πŸ™‚

  36. Lola says:

    Beautiful, just beautiful. I’m always looking at the wildflowers around here. I have the one that looks like Ajuga. It’s leaves fascinate me.

    Hi Lola, thanks. I have been trying to figure out what would look like Ajuga. Perhaps it is the Salvia lyrata? It does have interesting toothed leaves.

  37. Sweet Bay says:

    Frances you have a beautiful collection of natives. I’m with Semi on the “weeds”! πŸ™‚ They’re like delicate brushstrokes of color and the bees like them so much. Granted, they can be a leetle pushy…

    The NC Botanical Garden has Iris cristata in pure white, blue that matches Phlox divaricata, and lavender. I have the pale blue but it hasn’t bloomed in a couple of years. I think each color shade has its own unique and outstanding beauty.

    Your Crossvine looks fabulous. It grows wild here, I need to look for it in the trees by the creek.

    Christopher is a good gardening buddy.

    PS I meant to add that your I. cristata would complete that color palette from lavender to white. It’s beautiful!

    Thanks Sweet Bay. I have only recently paid much attention to the natives to be honest, thanks to Gail and others hailing their merits. No weeding is a concept I can get behind. I have seen the white cristata for sale, that would complete the set. Christopher is very generous. You should see his mountain, talk about wildflowers in an undisturbed setting! πŸ™‚

  38. LOL, Frances,
    I posted for Wildflower Wednesday a few weeks ago, and when I went to get Gail’s url, I noticed I was doing it the wrong Wednesday of the month. Then, when the right Wednesday came along, I forgot to post.

    You sure have a nice assortment of blooms there! I have a phlox similar to the one Gail shared with you.

    Hi Sue, thanks. I didn’t understand the date either, had to go back and change the post. Originally I thought it was the fourth Wednesday for some reason. But it doesn’t matter, any Wednesday will do. It doesn’t even have to be a Wednesday, lol. That phlox is a terrific plant, it settled right in and never stopped blooming even after being mailed.

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