Fringed polygala, Polygala paucifolia, and Mother's Day have a shared history here. We always search for these delicate wild orchids in the back woods around this special day. Weather and a sliding holiday sometimes conspire to deny us these flowers on the second Sunday of May. Other years the blossoms and the holiday coincide. This year no sign of the wild plants could be found. Trees surrounding the wild patch are growing nicely but the extra fall leaves may have smothered these evergreen plants. We will look again in several days.
Rumor has it that in the past, children of the farmers that toiled here brought handfuls of these flowers to their mothers. If those tales are indeed true, many more of these plants grew here decades ago. We have read numerous accounts of the decline of wild populations of Fringed polygala but none offer a reason for the cause of their disappearance.
The same two flowers appear in both pictures. This is the plant that was moved from the woods to the shade garden. A wire cage has covered this plant to protect it from the curious crows. Given help, it has recovered from being picked at by the birds. Several new shoots are evident and we will have two or three more clusters of flowers. Moving wild plants always causes feelings of guilt for us but if the wild plants are gone while our captive one lives on, then we may have saved it here.
Jack-In-The-Pulpit, Arisaema triphyllum, has not been found in the wild here. These plants were purchased so we have no direct connection with their harvest from the wild. Frost sensitive, these plants have been burned to the ground more than once. Tonight is the first of two consecutive frost warnings. Plastic buckets are now covering our Jacks, but their beautiful display depends on just how cold it gets. Despite the rigors of past frost burns, each of our plants sent up two stalks this year. Flower survival and red berries would make a great picture later, but we have to get through these next two nights.
Pale lavender violets were the source of color today on the walk to the woods. So far we have resisted the temptation to move these beautiful plants.