Sunday, May 23, 2010

My Garden Photo of the Day 5/23/10 Wild Ginger

This year I'm trying to be a frugal gardener. I have been establishing plants in different areas of my yard, and the last several years this has meant going to area nurseries and buying perennials and some annuals just for fun.

I've been disappointed when some of the perennials didn't come back the next year. The past two winters have brought extreme cold temps (-20) so only native or the hardiest plants survived. I've decided to focus on plants that are native to Illinois or ones proven to survive here - such as peonies, hostas, etc.

This season I'm going to focus my energy on cultivating existing plants for transplant to other areas of the yard. One plant that I love and that has enjoyed great success here is one native to Illinois—Asarum canadense reflexum or Wild Ginger.

My specimens came from my sister's yard in Kentucky, but they are quite at home in Illinois, where Wild Ginger grows naturally in nearly every county. From an original two or three plants five years ago, a large patch has flourished underneath a tree in the back yard. They have lovely leaves, especially stunning when a nice colony has developed. To find the tiny flower, however, you have to lift up the leaves and look on the ground. (You can just see it in my photo.) The plant gets its name from its fragrance, which is similar to ginger. 

I dug up and transplanted five plants last week and, thanks to some good rain, they are thriving. I'm looking forward to a nice colony under our maple tree beside the patio in a few years. I also dug up (from down the bluff behind our house) some bluebells roots and planted them next to the ginger for a nice woodland effect in early spring. 

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