Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginica) intrigue me. Several years ago, one seeded itself out under a mature non-native Norway Maple (Acer platanoides) that overhangs the pool. The ground around the base of the tree has always been bare (as is typically the case with the ground under any Norway Maple). It takes some pretty tough grass to sustain itself under a mature Norway Maple canopy!
The Norway Maples in our yard are around 50 years old. In Wisconsin and elsewhere, they are now considered an invasive species.
READY, SET, BLOOM
Now the first thing in the spring we see under this Norway Maple is the leaves of the Virginia Bluebells poking through the ground. It seems within a couple weeks they’re ready to bloom, and then they continue to bloom for quite some time. Their colors are awesome — pink to lavender in bud form turning to various shades of blue in flower — so when you have buds and blooms showing all at the same time there is a kaleidoscope of colors. The tragedy of this, of course, is that they are a spring ephemeral which means their lovely green foliage will after a time wither to nothing and then we have bare ground again.
SOWING THEIR SEED
Added to my intrigue is the Virginia Bluebell’s ability to sow themselves any and all places. As I look at our yard during the spring of the year, I see new plants in new places all around. The tragedy of this, of course, is that they are a spring ephemeral which means their lovely green foliage will after a time wither to nothing and then we have no plants there again.
NOTE: To see the photos enlarged, just click on each photo.