Dutchman's Breeches, Dicentra cucullaria, get their name from resembling pants.
Dicentra eximia, because they're not really heart shaped enough to call them bleeding hearts.
Dicentra eximia. This is one of those wildflowers native plant gardeners like to gush about. Honestly it's never impressed me, though I read it has a very long bloom time. Maybe I'll plant it someday.
Cymophyllus fraserianus, a flowering sedge that actually has showy flowers.
Caltha palustris, was abundantly in bloom around their ponds. This was the first year I saw this plant blooming at it's peak and the nonnative they have there not. The Mt. Cuba Center isn't totally native, partly because of the former owner of the estate. Her name was Mrs. Copeland (hope I'm spelling that right,) and while she was devoted to creating a wonderful native plant garden, a few of her favorite nonnatives still grow in the gardens. She had a saying I'm told that went something like, "If it isn't native, then it ought to be."
Helonias bullata, an endangered species (though only threatened in some states) was just starting to bloom in patches here and there. This is a nice pop of color but doesn't spread enough to be productive in the horticultural industry.
Virginia Bluebells, Mertensia virginica. This was the main burst of color on the forest floor this year. It's a wonderful perennial that forms a deep tap root. Some have said it's hard to get rid of once established and does spread freely by seed. Honestly though the gardeners there seem to keep it under control. I'd say the Woodland Poppy spread way more prolifically.
This was one of the few plants that bumblebees were actively working. Here a young queen (they're all pretty much queens this early in the year) is gathering nectar from one.
I tried to grow bluets once. They over wintered just fine, and flowered the following spring, however, come summer they died off sadly. I believe growing them in moss is somewhat vital to their survival as they are delicate little evergreen plants. Considering the size of their root they're probably not drought tolerant in the slightest.
For starters it's unusual for a native plant garden to not have at least one species. These take two years from seed to germinate, producing a simple single leaf on the third year and that's all. Year four they may produce two leaves, and then three leaves on the fifth. Then sometime between year six and ten, they should flower. From there they can slowly divide more flowering shoots to very slowly form a clump. They don't like fertilizer, even the slow release stuff will diminish the size of the rhizome or kill them. They like to grow in full shade, and can tolerate partial to full sun, provided they're watered regularly once a week. Lack of sufficient water (whether in full sun or shade) can cause the seed pod to shrivel up and die. Seeds are coated in elaiosome, which is basically ant food! So your seeds can walk away on you if you're not careful. So in summary these plants are tricky to grow and take the better half of a decade to flower.
As a side note I had always wondered why the Mt. Cuba Center had a section called the Trillium Garden, when it's clear to anyone that they have more Trilliums planted in big patches elsewhere in the gardens. But then I realized, this is where they keep all the cultivars and hybrids that have popped up over the years.
Trillium catesbaei. This is truly one of the prettier species to have, but harder to grow. They don't divide too often and it's even more difficult to get them to reproduce by seed.
The flower opens white but later turns a sharp shade of pink.
Trillium simile. This is actually my favorite Trillium. The flower is almost a perfect triangle. A life goal of mine is to someday commission a piece of jewelry in the shape of this flower. Not sure what it would be called but something to pin above a breast pocket on a suit, or cufflinks perhaps?
Trillium flexipes x erectum, this was a neat one to see. The flower resembles that of T. flexipes while the color is more in line of T. erectum... I didn't think to check if it smelled of dead fish like T. erectum. But it seems to bloom when T. erectum does because I don't recall seeing any T. flexipes open.
Trillium sulcatum x flexipes. Another flexipes hybrid.
Another hybrid with T. flexipes, though this time most of the reproductive parts and color seem to come from T. sulcatum.
A patch of Trillium sessile. (I know because I read the label.)
Also planted in this garden are the more formal and garden friendly cultivars of native plants, most of which flower over the summer.
They once again held a raptor bird demonstration. I only caught the tail end of the show this year....
They did this great thing this year where they asked for a young volunteer with a camera to take a seat right by the perch for the Turkey Vulture. He probably got an amazing photo too.