Reason enough

The argument favoring planting merrybells (Uvularia sessilifolia) is unconvincing, and fortunately my wife rarely questions one plant or the other. Raised eyebrows and incredulous looks are common, however. This native perennial is a slight presence, with sparse foliage and unremarkable blooms, though I consider it quite lovely. So unquestionably, a dozen were required for planting in a prime area along a shaded path. Perhaps, these will never make a show for visitors, but I am mightily pleased no matter how scrawny they are.

A scattered patch of native mayapples (Podophyllum peltatum, below) has slowly rebounded in the woodland that borders the garden after trees were thinned for timber twenty years ago. I admit to transplanting several from denser shade to hurry the revival along, and recently a mayapple with a different leaf form was discovered and several were moved into a shaded area of the garden with deep soil, a rarity with so many shallow rooted maples and tulip poplars overhanging the garden.

The typical native mayapple with divided lobes. Below is the unusual one with overlapping lobes and different coloring, though it is clearly a mayapple.

Probably, the varying leaf forms are not unusual, but I’ve never seen (or noticed) them on frequent hikes through area forests. So, I am of course pleased to have them in the garden along with small starts of several Asian species. No doubt, the mayapple does not loudly announce its presence, but these are among gems I prize more for foliage than flora.

This Chinese mayapple (Podophyllum pleianthum) is one of several Asian mayapples planted last year.

My recollection is a bit foggy, but I believe that several jack-in-the-pulpits (Arisaema triphyllum, above) appeared in the garden before others were planted. These few seeded to make others, and of course now I have little idea which were planted from ones that came naturally. In a rare showing of preference for one plant or another, my wife joyfully recalls childhood stories (fifty some years later) of jack-in-the-pulpits and older brothers tormenting younger sisters. I did no such thing to my younger brothers, so I have no early memories, but treasure jacks regardless that I have no personal stories of forcing siblings to chew the poisonous wildflower.

A Japanese Jack-in-the-pulpit (Arisaema sikokianum) planted in the garden.
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5 Comments Add yours

  1. Lynn Larkins says:

    I was about 6, my parents were on vacation, my Aunt and Uncle were babysitting my older brother and me. The jack-in-the-pulpit bloomed in the front yard, Jerry told me how sweet they were and that I should try it! Needless to say, it wasn’t sweet, I got sick! My Aunt fed me chocolate candy to get the taste out of my mouth, but I don’t think my brother had much done to him. I still remember as if it was yesterday, not 1948!!!

    1. Dave says:

      I did my share of mean spirited deeds with my younger brothers, but it seems my wife was encouraged by older brothers more than once to chew on jacks. She survived, and since both older brothers are deceased, she remembers this fondly. Hopefully, my brothers have forgiven me for things I did fifty years ago, but at least I never tried to poison them.

      1. tonytomeo says:

        We lack Jack-in-the-pulpit, but we make up for it (almost) with ‘death arum’. It is not as bad, but is really foul nonetheless.

      2. Dave says:

        There will always be something handy to poison your siblings. Hopefully, these will taste foul enough that pranks don’t have serious consequences.

      3. tonytomeo says:

        Poison?!?! I don’t expect anyone would actually inject it. ICK!

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