Thursday, May 14, 2009

Shade lovers and wild flowers

The same leaves over and over again!
They fall from giving shade above
To make one texture of faded brown
And fit the earth like a leather glove.

Before the leaves can mount again
To fill the trees with another shade,
They must go down past things coming up.
They must go down into the dark decayed.

They must be pierced by flowers and put
Beneath the feet of dancing flowers.
However it is in some other world
I know this the is way in ours.

~ Robert Frost

A few more plants from my shady nook under the lilac hedge.

Large flowered Bellwort or Merry Bells (Uvularia grandiflora) is an undemanding plant that adds a dainty hint of yellow to the spring shade garden. The growth habit is dense and rounded about two feet tall or less. I make sure to incorporate lots of compost into the soil to keep these plants content. (I really hate to mention compost when I'm posting about lovely blooms. Ah, the romance of compost. Getting our hands dirty in order to enjoy the spoils of leaf mold is just something we gardeners must accept. I absolutely will not discuss well rotted manure here;). The scientific name comes from ' the flower hanging like the uvula' (that thing in the back of your throat). I hate botanical names.

(Stylophorum diphyllum) Celandine Poppies spread freely around my shady garden. Reseeding can become a chore but they aren't especially hard to control. The bright splashes of gold are well worth pulling a few errant seedlings. The foliage is attractive and in places where it is happy, it blooms off and on all season. During drought conditions it becomes dormant mid summer. Beware if you have deer, these are one of their favorite horsdeuvers. No other pests or disease.

Woodland phlox or wild Sweet William (Phlox divaricata) displays beautifully in light or high shade areas. It looks especially nice as underplanting for taller plants like bleeding heart, celadine poppies, geraniums and hostas. There is some color variation within the species. Mine are almost the same shade of lavender as my old fashioned lilacs. A nice combination since they bloom about the same time each year. Newer cultivars are bluer. Butterflies and bumble bees love them (they have a nice fragrance if you get down on your knees and stick you nose into a clump;). Wirey stems and foliage try to remain evergreen here. Some gardeners have problems with mildew, so far I've been fortunate and had no problems.

Note: I name the genus and species whenever I remember but I'm not fond of botanical names (perhaps I've mentioned that) and usually avoid them. I love the romance of the common old names. Flowers are beautiful and they deserve charming, descriptive names that convey their history. The argument goes that common names are vague or may apply to more than one genus or species. That has not been my experience. For gardeners who become confused, the cultivar name is usually what is needed.

I'm probably in the (vast) minority but how do you feel about botanical names?


Randy said...

Oh we long for shade loving plants! Our day will come before long. Meanwhile we just keep watering trees!--Randy

Susie said...

I can certainly understand the use of more "romantic" common names but since I work at a nursery I like botanical names. The reason being there are so many common names for the same plant that it gets really confusing when customers are looking for a plant they know as one name and I know as another.

F Cameron said...

What sweet flowers! Your lilac hedge must be so fragrant!


Monica the Garden Faerie said...

Hi Marnie, the bellwort is particularly cute! Noog! I love compost and can talk about it any time! :)

Kathleen said...

I am a laid back kind of girl ~ I can go with the Botanical name or the common name. Neither offends me. I have tried to learn Botanical names just for the sake of it but if someone doesn't use it when posting, talking, whatever, it's fine. I do find Botanical names more helpful when it comes to searching out a particular plant tho. Great conversation starter Marnie. Also, I didn't realize poppies could grow in shade. I thought most all of them liked sun? Good to know.

The Birdlady said...


Ellie Mae's Cottage said...

I'm a new gardener so if I can just get the common names straight right now I feel good! LOL Nice post! I have lots of shade and this is very informative. -Jackie

BeadedTail said...

I prefer normal names probably since I don't remember the other ones. Beautiful shade plants and just the info I needed since I will be planting things in a shaded garded then year. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I try to remember the botanical names but the common names are more charming. :) Your Woodland Phlox is lovely. I'll have to remember to add some of it to my own shady areas.

Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi Randy, someday when those trees get larger you can redesign your gardens to include some shade plants;)

Hi Susie, that's interesting. I never can think of many common names for one plant.

Hi Cameron, it is because the lilacs are in bloom. Their scent is so powerful, nothing else registers.

Hi Monica, a true gardener. The compost looks as beautiful as the blooms;)

Kathleen, Celandine poppies are a native plant which has adapted to woodland settings. Actually it can take quite a bit of sun.

Birdlady, thanks.

Hi Jackie, I agree. New gardeners don't necessarily want to carry around a guide to botanical names that they cannot pronounce.


DP Nguyen said...

Aw the pretty yellow and green! I really do love that merry bells or bellwort, whatever it is called. It is so pretty.

I'm not such a fan of botanical names either. They are very confusing to me!

troutbirder said...

I love the bellwort too. Wish they lasted longer. Common names for me also. It's enjoying them that counts... not showing off ones technical expertise.

tina said...

I surely wish I had a problem with celadine seeding around here. I've enjoyed it in so many gardens this year. It is lovely.

I'm totally okay if you don't use Latin names, but I am one of those geeks that uses them more so than the common names so I do appreciate them. It comes easy to me for some reason, but I do understand when others roll their eyes when I start with the names so I try not to use them. Funny huh?

Gail said...

Marnie, Hello...I personally like knowing and using both, but.. I can usually remember either the botanical name or the common name...never both! There are plants I will always refer to with their common columbines, Celadine Poppy, etc.

The Bellwort is delightful...and so much better a name then the latin!


Jimmy and Wade said...

Marnie, as a new gardner I find myself like Ellie Mae. I am just glad when I see someting that I know isnt a weed. I usually leave the weeding to Jimmy because I have been know to pull his plants along with the weeds.

sweetbay said...

I like scientific names, although they usually have the ugliest pronunciation possible. Usually I don't even know the pronunciation and have to google the spelling but I like scientific names anyway. Usually. Would I use the scientific name for Celandine Poppy? No.

I love Woodland Phlox and Celandine Poppy both. Bellwort too. I dug up some Bellwort from one of our sloughs and it still hasn't bloomed yet -- I think I have it in too dry of a location. They're lovely when they bloom.

beckie said...

Marnie, your shade blooms are beautiful. Such pretty yellows to brighten up the area. I especially love the poppies. I wish I could get poppies to grow here.

I much orefer the common names. I understand the reasoning for using the botanical names, but they give me a headache! :)

Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi DP, I think I have a 'thing' for bell shaped blooms. I like them all.

Hi Troutbirder, you probably find the bellworts in the woods when you're out hiking.

Tina, I'll try collecting some this year. Maybe you can start it indoors.

Hey Gail, I agree.


Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi Wade, I think all of us are guilty of pulling up things accidentally. I get so carried away with weeding I often take out good seedlings.

Hi SweetBay, it has been an unusually rainy spring and everything is blooming wonderfully here. Good luck with your Bellwort.

Hi Beckie, I wonder why poppies don't do well there. Celandines are very different than oriental or Calif poppies. They might do well for you.


joey said...

It's such a joy to visit your garden, Marnie, since we have so many common favorites, Celandine Poppies one of the many. You have a delightful way of introducing your garden through your many fine photos and text. I'm excited to see your next feature!

Rose said...

I'm constantly amazed by the variety of wildflowers; I'm learning so much about them through blogging. Those Celandine poppies are lovely!
As for botanical names, well...I can see their purpose but in general I prefer their common names. Catmint, bachelor's buttons, even bleeding heart--those names immediately conjure up an image, don't they?

Naturegirl said...

Lovely shade plants..and BTW I also hate using ::botanical names::

Gayle@Mountain Moma said...

When are we going to see pictures of your lilac hedge? I can hardly wait! Love the woodland phlox. I think my grandmother grew these. They are lovely.

Unknown said...

I have poppies for the first time this year thanks to a wildflower packet I hope they reseed. Botanical names I like to know, just because but a lot of the time they confuse me......I do think old common names are charming though.

Beth said...

I prefer the more common name but if I'm at a nursery or talking to other knowledgable gardeners - I'll refer to them in the botanical name. As I try to instill the love of gardening to my girls - it's easier for them to remember a more simple name too.

marmee said...

great way to get the conversation started over the use of botanical versa common names...i like knowing both. mind you i can never remember them but i would like to be able to. i do love the fact the common names are so descriptive of what they usually look like or a feeling they give off. but if i could memorize the botanical names i could pretend to speak another language...very fanciful, eh!

oldcrow61 said...

Beautiful flowers. I like the common old names myself.

Anonymous said...

Oh Marnie...I would love to have you come to my yard and tell me what to do...LOL..I am catching up on my blog reading......