Tag Archives: phlox divaricata

The Garden Is Waking Up…Don’t Forget To Look Down!

Lenten Roses blooming below the rocks....

Lenten Roses blooming below the rocks….

After this winter’s double polar vortex whammy, I’ve been a little unsure what to expect in the garden. Is the confederate jasmine alive? I scratch its bark; it’s green near the bottom of the vine so I’ll need to cut it back to live wood. Will the black elephant ears that are in the water down by the rock outcrop come up this year? No sign yet but I’m still hopeful. They’ve been there for 8 years at least!

Southern maidenhair fern waking up...

Southern maidenhair fern waking up…




And what about the salvias? My Mexican Sage  is definitely gone, but I see tiny green leaves on the blue Salvia ‘Indigo Spires’. The forsythia sage looks like it is reappearing too. That is a huge surprise.

Tassel Fern croziers beginning to unfurl...

Tassel Fern croziers beginning to unfurl…




As I walk, I see the ferns are finally beginning to awaken, and, amid the blooming lenten roses, the southern maidenhair fern is finally up and beginning to unfurl  dainty spring green fronds.

Japanese painted fern...

Japanese painted fern…

The holly ferns  took a big hit; I’ve cut them back completely. Some are showing signs of life, others aren’t. I see it’s going to be a waiting game. Last season’s winter-tattered  tassel fern fronds  are laying flat on the ground, and I cut them back. The new, coppery-colored croziers will unfurl more each day, reaching for the light. The garden is coming back to life!

Virginia bluebells...

Virginia bluebells…

I’ve wondered if the Japanese painted ferns would make it. Perhaps I worry too much, because now I see  a single frond, and then more. They blend  into the rock behind them, but I know where to search. I’m so happy to see them. There should  be more soon if the changeable March weather doesn’t turn fickle on me.



Every day I walk through the garden, searching for more – the native wildflowers with names like rue anemone, virginia bluebells, crinkle root, trillium, jacob’s ladder, bloodroot, hepatica, blue woodland phlox. These are the tiny ones, the spring ephemerals that somehow know to begin growing  with longer, warmer days.

Soon I’ll begin to look up in the garden as well. The buds of the viburnums are getting larger, and the spiraeas are  beginning to bloom. I know more and more will vie for my attention. For now, though, I’ll continue to look down, searching for spring.

Spring is coming to the nursery too!  If you’re looking for treasures for your garden or just enjoy stopping by, come in to see our beautiful selection of  shrubs, perennials, native plants and more. It’s a feast for the senses!

Below are the latin names for plants mentioned in this post:

Confederate jasmine – Trachelospermum jasminoides; Black Elephant Ears – Colocasia sp.   Mexican Sage – Salvia leucantha; Indigo Spires Salvia –  Salvia x ‘Indigo Spires’ ; Forsythia Sage – Salvia madrensis; Lenten Rose – Helleborus orientalis; Southern Maidenhair Fern – Adiantum cappilaris; Holly Fern – Cyrtomium falcatum; Tassel Fern – Polystichum polyblepharum; Japanese Painted Fern – Athyrium niponicum; Virginia Bluebells – Mertensia virginica; Blue Woodland Phlox – Phlox divaricata;  Jacob’s Ladder – Polemonium reptans; Crinkle Root  – Cardamine diphylla;         Rue Anemone  – Thalictrum thalictroides; Bloodroot  – Sanguinaria canadensis.











Phlox divaricata – a must have for the woodland garden!

phlox divaricata in the garden....

phlox divaricata in the garden….

Wild blue phlox, woodland phlox, wild sweet william – whatever name you choose hardly matters. This native wildflower, Phlox divaricata, graces the most beautiful gardens in Birmingham in the early spring – March and April are its time to shine!

Phlox divaricata shown in Kris' spring garden

Phlox divaricata shown in
Kris’ spring garden




Find a spot for this one now, while it’s available, and you’ll add another layer of beauty to your garden too. Once established, it spreads readily, yet is never offensive or thuggish. The soft blue blooms have a delicate fragrance that is a subtle greeting as you walk through the garden…and bees and hummingbird moths love it too.

When it’s finished blooming, you can choose to cut it back, which helps tidy it up for summer. Don’t cut all of it back though, if you’d like it to reseed, popping up in other places in your yard – it will make itself at home!

Phlox divaricata enjoying the spring sun before its shaded by the rose bush...

Phlox divaricata enjoying the spring sun before its shaded by the rose bush…

Wild blue phlox is a denizen of my garden that I welcome wherever it chooses to be. Favored conditions are woodland soil or in a cultivated garden, and filtered or morning sun is perfect for it. But I also have some in a hot, sunny bed, a spot where it receives shade in the hottest part of the year by a large rosé bush, retreating in the summer and letting the rose take center stage..

How could anyone not want such a sweet, versatile, native perennial wildflower?

Phlox divarcata is a happy companion with many woodland plants

Phlox divarcata is a happy companion with many woodland plants


**Companion plants to consider include:
Columbine species, including the native columbine, Aquilegia canadensis
Perennial ferns, including Southern maidenhair, Japanese painted, tassel, Korean rock and more
Hellebores (Lenten roses)
Solomon’s seal (variegated or green)
Epimedium –
Other wild flowers, including spigelia, (Indian pinks) asarum (ground cover gingers), rue anemone, bloodroot, celandine poppy, Virginia blue bells, Iris cristata

Pretty pots of woodland phlox are available now...

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


Native Plants…Here Are Some Jewels For The Garden!

We’ve gotten in our first shipment of native perennial plants for those of you who’d like to add some of these beauties to your garden. The selection is usually a bit limited, so please come see us now if you’re interested in them.

jacob's ladder...sweet blue blooms will appear in spring...

jacob’s ladder…sweet blue blooms will appear in spring…


Blue woodland phlox will spread readily in a woodland garden

Blue woodland phlox will spread readily in a woodland garden










Plants in stock now include bloodroot, (Sanguinaria canadensis) which have the purest, whitest blooms in early spring…) blue woodland phlox (Phlox divaricata) that will slowly spread where it’s happy…  jacob’s ladder, (Polemonium reptans)  Indian pinks, (Spigelia marilandica) that are actually red and yellow!  Celandine poppy (Stylophorum diphyllum) which will brighten the garden with  bright yellow blooms…and southern maidenhair fern, which handles our heat in stride…(Adiantum capillaris)

Southern maidenhair fern adds a soft texture and light color to a landscape

Southern maidenhair fern adds a soft
texture and light color to a landscape


when the bloodroot appears
spring is not far off!









The above photo shows the bloodroot   just emerging…These are all in quart pots with the exception of the southern maidenhair fern, which is offered in gallon containers. We are so pleased this shipment is from just down the road in Wilsonville, Alabama.

You’ll notice as you walk in our door we have our own southern maidenhair fern growing in the greenhouse out of the asphalt – obviously some spores landed there and took a liking to that spot – so, sorry, it’s not for sale…of course, we’ll  continue to post as new arrivals come in, so stay tuned!

this southern maidenhair fern is growing in asphalt...

this southern maidenhair fern is growing in asphalt…