Very Helpful Native Spring Ephemerals

Here in Illinois, we have some wild spring ephemerals that I never had the pleasure of knowing in person until moving to our new spot. Our yard is part of a larger oak wood and the wild flowers are plentiful. Spring Beauty is a small pink flower that spreads by rhizome and will create waves of soft, small blooms in the grass for a month or two in Spring. The bees and flies love it and the corms are eaten by small rodents. It really is part of a larger cycle offering up much need food after winter.

Another magnificent spring bloom is trout lily. It establishes slowly and may take a few years to flower. Once established, they play an important part in woodlands. Trout lily come out early and soak up rains, holding water and nutrients in place that would (without trout lilies) run off. As warmer weather arrives and trout lily die back, they release nutrients back to the forest floor. This helps keep nutrients in place for the rest of the plants and trees in the forest. Amazing! What good friends to have in your yard.

As people become more aware of the natives and their usefulness, we can help our landscapes be self sufficient and beautiful. A lot of time, that means letting things go. Introducing natives appropriate to your landscape and not disturbing. I am a huge proponent of no dig. I know there is a world underground that connects all the roots and living things I see above ground. They have a purpose and my job is custodian. Don’t get me wrong, I still like to have my veggies and flowers, but I also leave a vast amount of space for the natives. I do pick out invasive like garlic mustard and buckthorn as well as poison ivy/oak that may pop up, but for the most part, I am letting things really show their innate charm and beauty.

So take the time after a good rain to go pull up invasives and think about adding more natives to your space. Prairie Moon Nursery offers up great information on their website about all their plants. If you have questions, feel free to ask me. I hope to see you at one of these upcoming Native Sales.

Citizens for Conservation Plant Sale

Comfort Station Native Plant Sale

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