Sunday, March 30, 2008

spring greens

I love the almost ghostly colours of this woodland plant, Jeffersonia diphylla (Twinleaf). The globular shape between the leaves in the photo below is a flowerbud.
Look how many flowerbuds you can spot below.
We're fortunate enough to have a sizable portion of our garden under a canopy of indigenous trees that long preceded us -- firs, a yew, maple, alder. While we've cut back and dug out some of the snowberry and ocean spray, we still have to arm-wrestle native ferns, salal, and Oregon grape for spots to tuck in shade plants, but it's a challenge I enjoy. This twinleaf has nestled in quite happily, surrounded by anemone, as you can see.
And going twinleaf (di-phylla) one better, here's a Tri-phylla -- Achlys triphylla that is, a plant native to BC, commonly known as Vanilla leaf. It's generally found under forest cover or streamside -- cool or damp or dark-ish, in other words. I really love its foliage in the spring -- can you already tell how pretty that leaf will be? Look at the serrated edge. . . I'll try to remember to show you the full leaf later and, even better, the lushness of a whole patch of them.

And speaking of lush leaves, look at the stunning, intricate pleating of this Veratrum nigrum.I bought it a few years ago because I couldn't resist these leaves -- after the next week or two, I know from previous seasons that I find it a bit disappointing -- this cluster of leaves comes out of the ground on a single stalk and ends up looking a bit spindly -- hostas have much more fullness. Still, for now, it's a dressmaker's inspiration with pleats worthy of Issey Miyake. Another shade plant.

Finally, these might not photograph like much, but I'm always excited to see the Solomon's seal (polygonatum) poking up. They seem to grow inches daily and within the next week or so, they'll begin arcing a snakelike head into place, from which will thrust wonderful clusters of bell-like fragrant flowers. Mom and Dad brought these over for me years ago when I first began the little bed that I love back around our guest cottage. Hard to believe that was over ten years ago.


  1. The twinleaf is very otherworldly. I'd love to see a picture of it when it blooms. The leaves of the veratrum negrum are such a spring green! Lovely.

    I'm starting to think about some containers for my south-facing deck this summer. Your pictures are always very inspiring! I might try and grow a few veggies, but further research into container veggies is required. I can't wait until the semester ends; I'm looking forward to my time being my own a bit more.

  2. I'll try to remember to take pictures of the twinleaf as it changes through the season.
    End of semester -- ah! the possibilities. We might get a few veggies happening as well for a change -- you could get some cherry tomatoes going if you have a south-facing deck.

  3. Pleated leaves...I never would have guessed.


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