April 20
Catesby’s Trillium (
Trillium catesbaei)
Crested Dwarf Iris
(Iris cristata)

This trillium usually is pale pink when it blooms in spring, but it often becomes a deeper rose color after a week or two. Since my plants are usually about twelve inches tall and the flower hangs down below the leaves, it is good that mine grow on the hill behind our house so we can look up into the blooms. Other native perennial wildflowers on our hill that look best when seen from below are Perfoliate Bellwort (in my April 11 painting) and Solomon’s-seal (fruit shown in the September 14 painting). Crested Dwarf Iris is only five to eight inches tall but the bloom looks up at you. It can spread by rhizomes to make quite an impressive colony.

I’m so glad we didn’t dig that hill up to amend the soil and then plant camellias. We would have altered the seed bank and root stock in the soil, and the environment there. Our native plants are suited to that hill and keep coming back each year without any help from me. I do, however, at this time of the year, pinch back other plants that have come up, such as asters, goldenrod and mint. We can then easily see the bloomers, and the pinched back plants will be bushier and showier in late summer. I must avoid pinching back phlox or penstemon though because they are waiting in the wings, the next act to come on stage.

A friend, who knows that I like to include insects with the plants, asked me where the insects were in this painting. I told him they were the tiny mites which had fallen out of the catkin on the ground to the left, because they were the only ones I found—and because I really didn’t want to put a bug on my pretty trilliums or iris. He was obviously disappointed so I went back to the painting and added the Ground Beetle (in the
Carabidae family) which you see sneaking out the back door at the lower right corner.

I keep a collection of insects of all kinds which I or friends have found. I record when and where each insect was. So, it was easy to find one who would be happy in that location on April 20

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