Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Bring on the wild
It’s not that I’m trying to turn my garden back into whatever it may have looked like when all of Western New York was virgin forest. No. That would be impossible—and undesirable. But there are a few native plants particular to WNY that I’ve always really liked, and one of them is the ubiquitous podophyllum peltatum, commonly known as Mayapple. You still see this everywhere in the area, though not as much as before the rural areas surrounding the city were developed. Now, you’re more likely to encounter it in spots like the Iroquois Wildlife Refuge (above), where it is protected. I’ve always liked the leaf form and, as native ground covers go, you could do worse.
A few weeks back I bought some pots of this as well as hepatica at a local nursery, where I was thrilled to see they had a sizable display of many other native plants. These were the real deal, ungussied up by pictures of birds and butterflies and fancy packages. (They also didn’t have the fancy prices of the native lines that some growers are putting out.) Not that I don’t think marketing is a good idea, overall; the distinctive packaging will be needed by many consumers who otherwise might overlook these.
I have a small area by the side of the house that is quite shady; I’m trying to turn it into a mini-woodland. So far it has martagons, lilies of the valley, sweet woodruff, ferns, hosta, bloodroot, tiarella, and a few others. In a few years, I hope to see a sizable colony of mayapples here.