Winterberry Farm Primitives

This blog is now devoted to gardening with native plants with a focus on those species native to the east coast of the United States. With an MS in Agricultural Science from the University of Delaware and my love of native plants, I hope to help folks see the beauty and necessity of using native plants in your garden instead of exotic plants. Did you know that our native song birds and native insects are disappearing as our local environments continue to change?
For those who come to this page to see my 'Winterberry Farm Primitives' blog can now be found at where I will post new additions to my online antiques shop at and discuss various subjects about primitive antiques.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Spring is springing!

Hi everyone!
We were out in the gardens yesterday getting the ground ready for the first of the spring planting and found some wonderful spring ephemerals that were already popping up through the leaf litter! The picture at the left shows some of my Trillium ludoviciana popping through the leaf litter. You can even see the flower bud on one of the plants. It will be a beautiful sessile (no flower stalk)flower in a deep maroon color. I have included a picture of the trillium in the first picture from last year so you can see what they will look like this year.
The water from the last snow fall and the 4 days of rain that we had last week is beginning to seep into the soil and we can walk through the gardens without causing any compaction to the soil, so we are out raking off the deep piles of leaf litter and allowing the soil to warm up in preparation for one of my favorite times of the year. My gardens emphasize the beauty of spring ephemerals and I love to watch the trillium, spring beauty (Claytonia virginica), and trout lilies (Erythronium americanum) poke through the ground in anticipation of the wonderful show they will put on once they begin to flower. You can see the furled leaves of the trout lily poking through the leaf litter in this picture. For those of you who do not know how difficult it is to get trout lilies to grow, let alone flower, let me show you a picture of last year's flowers. I have been living in my home for over 24 years and started most of my gardens within the first two years that we were here. I planted my first patch of trout lily over 9 years ago and the first plants just started flowering 2 years ago! Spring ephemerals are some of the most difficult plants to grow and I would recommend not trying them until you have a well-established garden with your trees and shrubs already growing with good canopies.
I will continue to post more pictures and information on spring ephemerals and if anyone is interested, I can dedicate some posts to spring ephemerals and early flowering native perennials. I have also been growing some native perennials from seed and have just put them outside to harden them off in preparation for planting this spring. Here are some pictures of Heuchera americana and Heuchera villosa 'Autumn Bride' that I grew from seed. Not all of them will go into my gardens, some will go to friends and family so they can also have some native groundcover for their gardens. They are in 3 1/2" pots and there are 24 to a flat and this is just a small portion of the plants, so you have some idea of how many I have to plant and distribute! Here are some more plants ready to go out, including Baptisia australis and Rudbeckia occidentalis 'Green Wizard'. This rudbeckia is a west coast native and will do well in most zones of the U.S. and the Green Wizard cultivar is a great looking plant with flowers that don't have any petals just sepals. It looks cool!
Out of time for more this morning but I will be back this afternoon with a blog on the Calycanthus floridus!


  1. Isn't it a real boost to see all these lovely signs of Spring?

  2. Hi Nancy!
    I love walking around the gardens and seeing the plants popping up through the leaf litter! The birds are singing and looking for insects, and they are working hard to finish all of the berries on the winterberry shrubs! More pics this week in a new post on spring ephemerals!