Lilies

March 25

Finally, the Pacific Chorus Frogs are chirping. The swallows are back– which means the insects are back. The swallows dip and swoop in big loops over the lake surface. The Northwestern Salamanders have laid their eggs along the lakeshore. I haven’t actually seen any salamanders yet this year, though I have found a few sluggish newts hunkered down underneath flats of Fringecup (Tellima grandiflora).

 

The Lily-family plants are poking above the ground: Western Trillium (Trillium ovatum), Large-Flower Fairy Bells (Prosartes smithii),Star-Flowered False Solomon’s Seal (Maianthemum stellata) , Tiger (or Columbia) Lilies (Lilium columbianum) AND White Fawn Lilies (Erythronium oregonum)! Many of the White Fawn Lilies will be blooming shortly. These diminutive showoffs have nodding flowers with pointed petals that curve back. They will be in their full glory shortly, and after their blooms wither and they set seed (and they will probably seed themselves in your garden) their foliage will also die back to nothing by summer. White Fawn Lilies thrive in bright shade, although we have a patch doing well in deep shade under a spruce tree in our yard.

Fern fronds are unfurling as the days lengthen and the temperature creeps up. The Deer Ferns (Blechnum spicant) in the greenhouse are just beginning to develop new fronds. They still have their evergreen foliage from last year, but aren’t quite mature enough to have developed the vertical spore-bearing fronds that makes Deer Fern such a striking plant. They like moist shady areas best.

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Spring, Wet or Dry

Hummingbirds are back in full force and big furry baby bees are bumbling about. If you go for a hike, you’ll see Trilliums (Trillium ovatum) in their full glory. Spring must be here! But why are we still slip-sliding through mud? Enough already!

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So we head for the greenhouse, where we can work in the dry. The Deer Ferns (Blechnum spicant) unfurl their fiddleheads, the Broad-leaved Shootingstars (Dodecatheon hendersonii) tease us with lots of foliage — but are they going to bloom? The Douglas and Pacific Coast Hybrid Irises (Iris douglasiana, Iris sp.) sprout new leaves and several mystery pots declare themselves Skunk Cabbage (Lysichiton americanum)! And good news for bees and hummers (birds not mini-tanks), Western Columbine (pictured) (Aquilegia formosa) is ready to par-tay! No blossoms yet, but healthy blue-green foliage.