Winter Aconite

I took a sunny stroll today although the cold winds were still howling after a night of rain and heavy winds.  There wasn’t much damage thankfully and there continues to be signs of spring poking up here and there.  The winter aconite (Eranthis hyemalis) is coming up nicely in many areas although all of these photos of winter aconite were taken in previous years at the gardens.  Note those that are just emerging and those that are opening and maturing.  We’ve seen them bloom as early as late February and as late as early April depending on the type of spring we’re having….This fall planted bulb (actually a “tuber” I believe) is quite small but inexpensive.  We plant them in large drifts and they slowly colonize over time as we let them go to seed as they go dormant in June after blooming strongly in late winter.  I saw a lot of them just popping up today with hints of the yellow blooms.  They don’t like summer drought like many bulbs and benefit from decent soils that will stay moist even over the course of their summer dormancy.  There are patches of winter aconite developing in areas where they were never planted which has been interesting to observe.  It will be interesting to see how these develop with visitors to RBG enjoying massive drifts of this plant in 2107!.  I had heard that ants will sometimes spread the seed by thinking it’s food and hauling it back to their residence, thus perpetuating the spread and establishment of winter aconite.  Native to Southern Europe, this plant is bone hardy for us and blooms early enough in areas that might become shadier later in spring due to an overhead deciduous canopy.  It is also poisonous which is also evidenced in not being tampered with by local wildlife.


Cindy and Kathy P. worked on some inside projects today and then both shifted to gardening work.  Kay was in to process Spring Plant Sale veggie labels and Janice had a full day of working on sale preparations as well.  Dr. Gredler and Nancy N. were in for painting while Maury F. ran some errands for us.  Mary B. and Maryam stopped by too. We also saw Art, Karen, Tom and Darcie at our Horticulture Therapy Committee meeting where we continue to plan for our August 9th Horticulture Therapy Symposium (Gardening for Life).