Saturday, May 14, 2011

My favorite non-native/native bulb

There is an Audubon preserve a bit south of us that is carpeted with ramps, fiddleheads, and erythronium Americanum (trout lily) at this time of year. Oddly, the erythronium in my garden are not this native Northeastern variety; I do best with the “Pagoda” cultivar. I also have the revolutum and the tuolemnense (above). I had the European dens-canis at first, but this faltered and disappeared pretty quickly.

I would love to see an entire bed with nothing in it but yellow erythronium and brunnera. Its beauty wouldn’t last very long—erythronium have a relatively short season, leaving the brunnera to carry one for a bit longer—but it would be glorious.

The native Americanum is now offered for sale at an area nursery; its mottled foliage is interesting, though not as big and glossy as the “Pagoda.” For crazy spring foliage though, you really can’t beat tulipa gregii, which is intertwined with the erythronium here. (I have a carefree attitude about bulb planting; I really don’t pay too much attention to what I had planted in the same spot before.)

The other silly nickname for erythronium is dog’s tooth violet. The bulb (which no one sees) is supposedly shaped like a dog’s tooth; I guess they call it a violet because it blooms as the same time. This is why I like botanical names.