Friday, March 12, 2010
We actually start looking for spring beauties in January. Not the flowers, but the little leaves. They're skinny like a little blade of grass, but more succulent -- spring beauties are actually related to purslane. (And like purslane, the leaves are edible.)
By mid-March, the spring beauties are blooming. The flowers are small (maybe 3/4" wide) and low to the ground -- the entire plant usually doesn't grow any taller than 4 to 6 inches. At any other time of year, they'd be easy to overlook. In early spring, though, they're a major part of the show before other things start blooming.
The flowers have 5 petals that can be white or light pink. If you look closely, you'll see they're candy-striped with thin pink lines pointing to the center of the flower. And just in case that doesn't tip off the pollinators well enough, the center opening of the flower is highlighted with little yellow spots.
Watch for how the flowers react to the weather. On a sunny day, they'll open wide. But with clouds, the petals fold back up and wait for better weather. It's another thing we love about these plants.
We've tried a few fairy spuds from our yard -- but I think I prefer to see the flowers.
In your yard: We love the spring beauties we've planted in a shady spot in our backyard. They're a great reminder to get out into the woods and see what else is coming up.
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