Another one of my photos from a spring walk in Nerstrand Big Woods State Park. This one is a native Minnesota wildflower called Virginia Spring Beauty, or Claytonia Virginica. The flowers are so small I almost walked right by them near the waterfall.
Visiting Nerstrand Big Woods State Park every Spring is one of my favorite rituals. This year will be my third year photographing Spring wildflowers in Minnesota. I took this shot of a White Trout Lily last year, which are small and sometimes hard to find if you don't know what you are looking for. I have yet to capture one open.
These cute little Violas growing at the base of my front porch are what my mother-in-law calls "volunteer" plants. They "volunteer" to come up from seeds left behind by the parent plant a year before. I call them "babies" and love them for the shear fact that they are free. In fact I have had great success with Pansies and Violas coming up from seed the following Spring. Of course you never know where they will pop up, or how many there will be, but it sure is fun to see them peaking out each year. Last summer, I had a bunch of Pansies show up in my lawn.
Other plants gladly give me volunteers, the most common being Coneflowers and Black-eyed Susan. This year my "Crater Lake Blue" Veronicas gave me six additional plants to transplant to other parts of the garden. I just love free.
This year I had the task of cleaning up my front garden beds, which includes raking up all that old, large mulch that is too big to break down into the soil. I had laid down the original cedar mulch about four years ago. The bucket above is full of old mulch that came just from the small space it sits next too.
After raking up the old mulch, I laid down a layer of bagged cow manure that I pick up each year from Pahl's Market in Apple Valley to give the plants some added nutrients. I rake it into the soil around the plants, then put down a new layer of mulch on top. Voila, a garden is reborn!
The other day I noticed my African Violet was listing to one side and I wondered what was going on. Looking under the leaves I noticed a baby violet was growing off the main trunk. I wasn't really sure what to do, so I "googled" it and found a site that had a solution for saving the baby.
At first I thought it was a little far fetched, but decided to try it any way. I unpotted the parent plant and shook off the dirt. Looking at the baby, it was apparent there were no roots growing off of it so it was indeed a "sucker". I gently removed the baby from the plant with a sharp knife and then according to the other website, placed it in a plastic bag and sealed it up. I actually forgot about it in my laundry room for the next couple of weeks, but when I happened upon it about three weeks later, I was shocked to see little roots growing off of it (as seen in above photo). I can't believe it worked!
So now my little guy is growing in a pot all on his own and about twice the size when I first removed him.
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