Tuesday, January 4, 2011

I Have My Eye on This Evergreen Beauty

Partridgeberry, Mitchella repens, is an interesting ground cover that grows beneath the hemlocks and red maples in our  somewhat open  back woods. Snow or no snow this plant always looks perky and green. It flowers in the spring producing a pair of small, white or pink, scented trumpet flowers. After pollinating the flowers fuse forming a single red, two-eyed berry. The berries are supposed to be a favorite of the ruffled grouse, hence the plants' common name. The red berries are edible,but I find them rather bland. They are more interesting left on the plant.

This plant is small having  been recently planted perhaps via bird droppings.  I hope Ed remembers where this particular plant is because in the spring, I think it is a good candidate to be moved to the shade garden border. If the woodsy hemlock needle mulch and light red maple leaf cover is duplicated, and the plant's roots are carefully preserved, it should do well. It will be a pleasure to see this plant I love where I can get a close look at it. Hiking all the way to the back woods, and getting  down on the ground to get a close look at this plant where it is growing now, is no longer an option for me.

The spring-like day when this picture was taken, was followed by a clear, cold, starry, night. The following day was sunny, but cold. Last night a light layer of snow fell. It's a reminder that this is just the beginning of winter. Both the gardeners and the plants will have to adjust.


Commonweeder said...

I've got ruffed grouse in my fields - and when I plant some trees in a mowed area this spring I will have to plant some partridgeberry. So farm i have only enjoyed it in a 'berry bowl' at Christmas.

Kim and Victoria said...

Partridge berry. Haven't heard of it. If nature is kind, it allows us to take a bit home with us.

Becky said...

Partridge berry is native to the eastern US. I don't know how it would do heading west.