Saturday, April 18, 2015

April Wildflowers in an Upper Middle Tennessee Forest Part I

This spring has been such an awesome spring! The trees are leafing out, butterflies are a flying, frogs are a croakin, bluebirds nesting and no late freezes! Who can complain? Plus, this is our first spring in our new home in the country. Country living is not for everyone but for Mr. Fix-it and I who are both nature lovers-it is the only way. To fully appreciate country living I think you have to live with nature and enjoy it. There is no better way than to take a walk around the woods and check out the wildflowers. I did just that for several hours, and I thought you all might like to see them too-tho virtually. Last year I also posted on spring wildflowers at Tiger Way Gardens but as I look at that post I see most of them are ones I transplanted to the farm. Most of the ones you see today will be wild grown wildflowers with the exception of two shrubs that I transplanted.

We have over sixty acres of rolling terrain that has wet springs, a natural pond, and is mostly all wooded with the exception of our homesite and Wildflower Hill. The soil is acidic having a pH in the range of 5.5. Wild blueberries, columbo,  and a multitude of flora live here along with the local fauna. We start with trilliums. It is ironic I transplanted several of these out here (which are doing well and have bloomed this year) but then found quite a few communities of trilliums. I believe this is perhaps a Sweet Betsy trillium (Trillium cuneatum).
This plant was hard for me to identify. It grows in the woods alongside a hill. Do you all recognize it? It is chickweed! Star chickweed (Stellaria pubera) is a native chickweed and NOT that pesky common chickweed found growing in lawns all across America in the winter. This chickweed has a very large and pronounced flower. My wildflower book, Wildflowers of Tennessee the Ohio Valle and the Southern Appalacians says common chickweed is a delicacy in Europe and "is a source of vitamins A and C". My chickens love the common chickweed but I am not going to be pulling the star chickweed to see if they like it too. This lovely diminutive wildflower grows right along with Spring Beauty and other wildflowers in the shaded areas of the farm.
This is the easiest wildflower to identify for me. It is Wild Bee Balm or Wild Bergamot (Monarda fistulosa). It grows wild in most areas of Middle Tennessee judging by all I see in the summer when it blooms. Here it grows on Wildflower Hill. It is quite happy on Wildflower Hill because Mr. Fix-it and I bush hog the hill and cleared the saplings which enabled more sun to reach the ground. Wild Bergamot blooms with Rose Gentian in the summer and is a gorgeous combination. My new hives of honeybees will love it!
Wild phlox (Phlox divaricataI) blooms all over Wildflower Hill and also in the woods.
This sweet little wildflower is Jacob's Ladder (Polemonium reptans) and blooms in the woods and on the edges of the woods. I was planning to move some out here but no longer since it is already here and growing well. It is right next to some beggar ticks (Bidens) which grow with abandon out here. No late summer walk in the woods is complete without a bunch of beggar ticks sticking to your clothes.
I believe this to be a native Maidenhair fern (Adiantum pedatum). It was a lucky catch for me because I was deep in a gorge with a wet spring when I happened upon it.
This mystery plant was also in the gorge next to the wet spring. I have no idea what it might be but I am leaning towards a wood lily. Does anyone know?
Fiddleheads also grow in the wet area of the gorge.
Coming up the hill the forest floor is absolutely covered with American Columbo. Wowser! This wildflower is stunning in person. I recently had some visitors and one of them asked me right away what it was and she liked it a lot. It is not a real common wildflower in my experience so Mr. Fix-it and I simply adore it on our land. 

The rest of the week will see more wildflowers and some bees....

in the garden.....

Words and Photos Property of In the Garden Blog Team, In the Garden


  1. How I wish I could see this up-close-and-personal. So like my brother's place just over the mountain from you...
    I visited your last post, too, and enjoyed "stalking" the photographers. Your beds and beautiful and the "yard art" so fascinating.

    It feels like our spring is just beginning. After last spring/summer of total inactivity due to surgeries, there's MUCH work to be done here!

  2. I just love that blue phlox. I would like to get it started in my garden.

  3. Thank you for taking us on your wildflower walk. You truly have a little piece of wilderness to enjoy.

  4. Tina, you have a lovely property. You are so lucky to have such a wonderful garden of wild flowers. I'm looking forward to more wildflower tours over the seasons.

  5. So much happening on that land of yours. What fun to explore and spot all the new things popping up....

  6. Did you ever find out what the mystery lily was? As the Mr and I were foraging for morels around here we came across a whole marshy creek area between hills that was covered with the same stuff. I dug up a few starts and packed them back home to plant them around my water garden. Scouring Google for the past few hours on an ID of this plant and what its flowers may look like have not yet proven fruitful. Southern Indiana here.

    1. Hi Misty, you are not too far from me at all so it could be the same thing. I have sadly not found the identity of the mystery plant. I never went back to see the bloom but I will try to do so this spring. It should be out there right now and thanks to your comment you reminded me so I must go look. Will try to figure it out and if I do I'll be sure to let you know. Thanks for stopping by!