Virginia Bluebell Mertensia virginica, commonly called Virginia Cowslip because it grows in pastures, this native perennial reaches 10-30 inches tall. It has bright apple-green oval leaves and vivid blue clusters of nodding bells and blooms March-April in wet meadows, along streams, and lowlands. This beauty can be found on the stream banks in the Mathews Nature Trail.
Trout Lily, Erythronium ameicanum, commonly called Dog’sTooth Violet from the Eurasian variety that has bulbs that are white, pointed like a dog’s tooth, and has violet flowers. The native Trout Lily has lustrous green leaves, mottled with maroon resembling a trout shining through the water. The flower stalk bears a single nodding yellow flower 1”-1.5” in size with recurved petals and stamens of yellow or purple. Stroll through the Mathews Nature trail to enjoy this early spring catch that will go dormant in late May.
Magnolia x ‘Butterflies’ is a deciduous hybrid magnolia resulting from a cross between M. acuminate x M. denudata ‘Sawada’s Cream’. This stunning tree is a superior tulip-like yellow flowering variety. It typically grows as an upright, pyramidal tree to 18-20’ tall with a single trunk. It also grows as a multi-stemmed shrub. This tree will catch your eye on the way to the Garden Railway.
Eastern Redbud, Cercis Canadensis, has pea-like rose-purple or white flowers that bloom profusely in March before the foliage emerges. The genus name Cercis comes from the Greek word kerkis meaning weaver’s shuttle in reference to the resemblance of each seedpod to a weaver’s shuttle. The specific epithet canadensis is in reference to Canada (southern Ontario) being part of the native range of this tree. This deciduous, sometimes multi-trunked, understory tree matures at 20-30’ tall. Throughout the garden, you will find upright cultivars such as ‘Alba’, ‘Appalachian Red’ or ‘Tennessee Pink’ as well as weeping forms.
Fragrant Winterhazel, Corylopsis glabrescens, is a multi-stemmed deciduous shrub 8-15’tall. The drooping clusters (racemes) of fragrant pale yellow flowers in early spring is an excellent addition to the landscape. This shrub will also supply you with yellow, green, and gold fall foliage. This garden specimen plant can be seen as you look towards the Summer House with an evergreen backdrop of Carissa Holly.