Seeing the first hummingbird, hearing lawn mowers again, dropping tax forms—and a check—into the mailbox, or having to hunt again for an open parking spot at the local garden center, we each have our own way of knowing when it’s truly spring, when it’s time to shrug off our heavy coats, relax our shoulders a bit, and breath in deeply again. Winter is over.
Since I was a child, seeing Spring Beauties, Claytonia virginica, in bloom was my way of knowing it was spring.
I still look for those small white, sometimes tinged with pink, flowers that grow in those half-wild transitions zones next to wooded areas, where no one has bothered too much with trying to have a perfect lawn, to know it is truly spring.
Of course, I’ve wanted to have those flowers in my garden, to have that sign of spring right in my own backyard, but alas, my lot was not wooded originally so there were no Spring Beauties naturally here.
But perhaps there could be some blooming here! I have trees now. I have transition zones they might like. I’m not trying to have a perfect lawn.
Another sign of spring for me is looking online to see if I can find seeds for Spring Beauties. I usually find that seeds are either sold out or expensive if available, and often listed as difficult to germinate. For such a common wildflower! How can that be? Why don’t I just find some somewhere and dig them up to plant in my garden?
Because one doesn’t just go out and randomly dig up flowers from just anywhere, especially wildflowers.
But then… one good turn… one stroke of luck.
I was at my sister’s telling her what to do in her garden, as only a big sister can, and noticed her neighbor had several swaths of Spring Beauties blooming in her backyard.
My inner Gollum took over.
She apologizes to J. R. R. Tolkien but we wants it, we needs it.
As I noted above, I want Spring Beauties in my garden.
We must ask first before we digs it up.
One should never dig up wildflowers or any other plants from someone’s yard without asking first. We got my brother-in-law to go over and ask the neighbor if we could dig some up. She said sure!
We must not digs it all.
Of course, it would be impossible to dig it all up, but I wanted a good bagful. And so did my sister.
We must not leave holes where we digs it.
We smoothed out the areas where we dug and tried to make it look like we hadn’t just dug up several good clumps of Spring Beauties. It’s the proper thing to do.
We must not digs it all.
Right, I wrote that earlier, didn’t I? I just had to remind myself again. Whenever one is digging up plants, you shouldn’t take all of them unless the owner specifically says, “Take all of them.”
We must plants it where it will be sure to survive.
This was actually my second attempt to get Spring Beauties to take hold in my yard and spread like, well, a wildflower. The other time I had just one clump and it disappeared after a few years. I hope where I planted it this time— in some dappled shade on the north side of a tree— will work. The spot is near the lawn so hopefully, it will spread out into the lawn. Then I planted a few more clumps in another spot, just for good measure.
We must keeps it watered so it lives long enough to set seed or become established.
I watered it all in.
What’s this!? Who dug up
my precious my Spring Beauties?
The next day, I checked on them and found that someone—rabbit? vole? raccoon? garden fairy? (surely not!)—dug up some of them. I replanted those clumps and watered again. I will check them daily now, every morning, to make sure that doesn’t happen again.
We must waits until next spring to find out if
my precious my Spring Beauties return and bloom and spread.
If they don’t return, I know where I can go dig some up again.
We must have
my precious Spring Beauties in my lawn!
Kathy Purdy says
I hope they do well for you! I have tried to establish them here to no avail. But I only had a few teeny plants someone had given me. I saw a single one blooming in my neighbor’s lawn which was what inspired me to even try.