Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Bittersweet Nightshade - Minnesota Wildflower

I was jogging down a local nature path recently when I flash of purple caught my eye. It should be no surprise that I am constantly looking along paths I travel for any new wildflowers to discover. This one was very small so I made a note of its location and came back a few hours later with my camera.

Known as Bittersweet Nightshade, this dainty flower is easily identified by its five dark purple flowers with pointed yellow center, and sits on a weak vine. It flowers from May to September, with green berries eventually ripening to varying shades of red. Another common name for this wildflower is Deadly Nightshade, as it is toxic. While not fatal, it can harm young children if the berries are eaten in any quantity.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Columbine, an Elegant Plant for Any Garden

Columbine is one of those plants that you love to watch emerge from the dreary winter. It is a spring perennial and usually the first to bloom.The beautiful pink one pictured below is in a semi-shade garden growing among ferns and Bleeding Hearts. It is also a wild flower that you can find along the edge of woodland areas.


The plants are available in a variety of sizes and hybrid colors. I have tried about 5 different types in my garden, but only one has survived. Unfortunately, it's not where I planted it but about 5 feet away. Thus, I'm not sure what the name of it is exactly. It is the one pictured below and sits in full sun. Last year it was quite small, but this year it is 2 feet tall and the flowers have been blooming for at least two weeks. Notes on the plant say they only last 2-3 years, but can spread via seeds. Who knows, a few years from now, it could move again!

It seems that for the Minnesota Garden, Columbine is best grown in full sun.