Garden Photo of the Day

Spring in Boston, Part 2

More spring, plus some butterflies!

We’re back for another day of enjoying spring in Barbara Cain’s Boston garden.

Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis, Zones 3–8) is a common wildflower in the woodlands of eastern North America. The tiny white flowers are beautiful, but they only last a few days before the petals shatter.

But long after the flowers have gone, the leaves of bloodroots are a beautiful addition to the garden, with each one interestingly lobed and textured. These leaves will disappear later in the summer when the plants go dormant, as this plant has adapted to grow in the spring before the leaves of the canopy have leafed out. Then it will wait out the shady summer and cold winter underground before growing and flowering again the next spring.

Yellow trillium (Trillium luteum, Zones 4–8) is another native wildflower, and one not nearly as commonly seen as bloodroot! It is in the group of sessile trilliums. Sessile, in botanical terms, means stemless, and it refers to the fact that the flowers of this group of trilliums are directly on top of the leaves rather than growing up on a stem above the leaves like some other trilliums. Many of the trilliums in this group have beautifully patterned leaves, and this particular species boasts the bonus of a lemony scent!

Flowers of the doublefile viburnum (Viburnum plicatum f. tomentosum Zones 5–8). Each head of flowers is made up of two types of blooms: a ring of sterile flowers with large, showy, white petals around the outside, and a big mass of much smaller fertile flowers in the middle. The showy sterile blooms attract insect pollinators to pollinate the fertile blooms in the center.

The doublefile viburnum in full bloom. This is such a beautiful shrub, with each branch dripping with flowers in the spring.

A branch of the viburnum completely covered with blooms. There are selections of this species that have all sterile flowers and so bloom in big white snowballs. Both are beautiful; which one you prefer to grow is just a matter of taste.

Last August, Barbara took these photos on the Isle au Haut in Maine, and I haven’t had the chance to share them on the GPOD until now. Here, a whole cloud of monarch butterflies feeds on thistle flowers. If you want to enjoy monarch and other butterfly displays like this in your garden, remember to avoid using insecticides and to plant a wide diversity of mostly native plants to provide food for the caterpillars and adults.


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View Comments


  1. User avater
    meander_michaele 06/13/2019

    Even though I have a yellow trillium, I am a bit abashed to admit that I never particularly focussed in on the stemless aspect to the flower. Nice to not only enjoy the pictures on gpod but also to gain some knowledge!

  2. btucker9675 06/13/2019

    Love it all, especially the yellow trillium and that gorgeous viburnum - Spectacular!!! Thanks for sharing your wonderful garden.

  3. User avater
    simplesue 06/13/2019

    Good to see the healthy thriving photos of the Bloodroot! And I learned something about them here. I used to have one in another garden and think I lost track of it because I didn't realize it had gone dormant for the summer, and must have accidentally planted on top of it. The photos of the butterflies clustered together were amazing- I started to read "on the Isle of..." and I assumed it was on some tropical island- and surprised to learn they were in Maine!

    1. User avater
      simplesue 06/13/2019

      PS... I saved your photo and info on Bloodroot to my files! Thanks!

  4. Cenepk10 06/13/2019

    Psyched to see the doublefile viburnum. I planted one last fall- it didn’t bloom this spring... Also planted the Snowball Viburnum which bloomed itself silly ... Love these spectacular plants !

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