Hello. I’d like you to meet Shooting Star, aka Dodecatheon hendersonii. This sweet little thing is one of the native wildflowers blooming in my backyard “woodland bed” right now. Like many of the spring ephemerals (so called because of their fleeting nature), it’s not exactly a show-stopper (but just look at how it wows en masse!). Since there’s just one clump in my garden, it’s best appreciated up close. Luckily, I don’t have much choice but to get close – our backyard is that small.
At 13′ x 15′, our backyard offers, let’s say, the opportunity to get up close and personal with each and every plant in it. Here it is, seen from the third floor balcony. The woodland bed is the one in the bottom right corner of the above photo.
And here it is earlier this month, as everything started to spring to life. Acer palmatum ‘Beni Kawa’ anchors this bed. When I planted it three years ago, I called it “the perfect small space alternative to ‘Sangu Kaku’.” I lied. Sure, it’s smaller than ‘Sangu Kaku,” which can reach 20′ tall, but it isn’t a tiny tree. In our household, it’s generally referred to as “out of control,” or “that &%* tree” as one of it’s ridiculously long branches insinuates itself into your personal space.
…but it does have lovely red new growth, and when they unfurl, the delicate-looking leaves look like hands spreading.
There’s also a big, beautiful Western Sword Fern (Polystichum munitum), which unwinds its fiddleheads in the most lovely way.
Here’s one of its tightly-curled fiddleheads, which, although apparently very tasty, I can’t bring myself to harvest.
I love the pre-emergent leaves of the Maidenhair fern (Adiantum pedatum). Look at how those individual leaves are knit together like fish scales – so perfect.