Spring ephemerals are mostly perennial wildflowers that appear when the weather warms up, soaking up the sun before the trees and other plants have a chance to leaf out. They grow rapidly, bloom and then go dormant, all in a period of six to eight weeks. I personally find them a welcome sight for sore eyes.
We are only the second family to live in my home, which was built in the 1980s. It’s located in a typical suburban plan which means, that, ten years ago when we moved in, there were a lot of basic foundation plantings, mature trees and shrubs. The family before us also had planted bulbs and some nice ground cover. One of the plants I find each spring, which I really don’t know whether someone planted or whether it just showed up, is Anemone blanda, commonly known as Grecian windflower.
So this past week when it was finally warm enough for me to take my garden walk, as I often do when I get home from my day job, I came across the Grecian windflower, which always seems to surprise me and make me smile. You see, this little beauty is a spring ephemeral, which means it shows up like a friendly party guest, blooms its head off and retreats until next year. It happens so fast that I forget it was even there.
Below are some photos of a few well-known spring ephemerals that can be found here in Pennsylvania: Mertensia virginica or Virginia bluebells, Trillium grandiflorum and Dicentra cucullaria or Dutchman’s breeches.