Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Bring on the wild


It’s not that I’m trying to turn my garden back into whatever it may have looked like when all of Western New York was virgin forest. No. That would be impossible—and undesirable. But there are a few native plants particular to WNY that I’ve always really liked, and one of them is the ubiquitous podophyllum peltatum, commonly known as Mayapple. You still see this everywhere in the area, though not as much as before the rural areas surrounding the city were developed. Now, you’re more likely to encounter it in spots like the Iroquois Wildlife Refuge (above), where it is protected. I’ve always liked the leaf form and, as native ground covers go, you could do worse.


A few weeks back I bought some pots of this as well as hepatica at a local nursery, where I was thrilled to see they had a sizable display of many other native plants. These were the real deal, ungussied up by pictures of birds and butterflies and fancy packages. (They also didn’t have the fancy prices of the native lines that some growers are putting out.) Not that I don’t think marketing is a good idea, overall; the distinctive packaging will be needed by many consumers who otherwise might overlook these.

I have a small area by the side of the house that is quite shady; I’m trying to turn it into a mini-woodland. So far it has martagons, lilies of the valley, sweet woodruff, ferns, hosta, bloodroot, tiarella, and a few others. In a few years, I hope to see a sizable colony of mayapples here.

8 comments:

Beyond The Garden said...

It sounds like you have a good start on your wildflower garden. Mayapples abound here in the mid-Ohio valley. I have many of the plants you have, most transplanted from the nearby woods. I cover the ground around them with periwinkle. It helps keep them shaded keeps the ground honeycombed with their roots. Good luch with your mayapples.

Jim/ArtofGardening said...

I have a whole mini forest of mayapples. Had I known I would have given you some! If you want more, let me know.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Mayapples are so fun to watch them colonize. Every year they will spread. You won't be disappointed.

Dee @ Red Dirt Ramblings said...

I saw Virginia creeper being sold at a nursery recently, and I though, wow, that grows everywhere in my garden all by itself. Glad you got the mayapple. It will look great in your garden.~~Dee

garden girl said...

They are such cool plants. I dug two from my Mom's woods this spring, and so far they seem happy here. I'm looking forward to blooms, hopefully next year, and to seeing them spread.

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

I hate to rain on your parade, but you better keep a close eye on those mayapples. Mine are trying to take over the garden. They spread into the path with underground runners. The dry stream barely stops them. I wouldn't want to be without them, but beware what you wish for.

Anonymous said...

so what are you intoxicated on? i dont see any intoxication at all thakns

Kylee from Our Little Acre said...

I doubt it will take a few years before you have your colony of Mayapples. Mine, gleaned from a friend's woods (with their permission) took exactly one year to reproduce like nobody's business. I love that though. :-)