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Marie Iannotti

Spring's Ephemerals

By February 23, 2014

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The recent bout of sunshine is spoiling me. I'm going to be devastated when it snows, yet again. But I know that even though winter seems never ending, spring will pop up very soon and surprise me.

I like surprises in the garden. I have no memory of ever planting Dutchmen's Britches (Dicentra cucullaria), but one year, there they were. A few weeks later and they had disappeared again. Dutchmen's Britches belong to a group of plants known as spring ephemerals, along with other fleeting charmers like bloodroot, trillium and trout lilies. They appear for a short time, early in the season, and then go dormant for the summer. Most are woodland plants that take advantage of the moist spring soil and the sunlight that's available before the trees leaf out. They can require a bit of patience, especially getting them established, but they are charming, And they bloom when blooms are sorely needed.

Photo: Marie Iannotti

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