African Garden + winter

Wildflower Wednesday: A Special Event

For the first time in five years, the yellowwood tree (Cladrastis ketukea, a/k/a Cladrastis lutea) is blooming. The lesson here is that, while Cladrastis is native to the United States, it's not native to the Chicago area and Northern Illinois. (As the name implies, it's from Kentucky, and also grows wild in Tennessee, Missouri and parts of North Carolina and Alabama.) There's a reason for that. Cladrastis generally blooms every other year, but in recent years, late frosts have zapped the buds. This year, it was lured out of dormancy early, and the new leaves got zapped.

Note the shriveled leaves on the right in the photo.

It put out more leaves and some buds. There was another frost, and those buds got zapped.
I kept looking at some newer buds that were teasing me with such promise, but not doing anything.

Yesterday, while wandering around outside, I noticed the flowers in bloom in the interior of the tree, where they must have been protected from the last frost by the leaves.

Clearly, this tree needs a more hospitable climate in which to bloom. I'm not saying it's not worth growing this far north, as it's a graceful tree with lovely yellow fall color and beautiful gray bark for winter interest. (It's called "yellowwood" because the heartwood is yellow.) Just be warned, if you garden in Zone 5a or Zone 4, you probably won't get to enjoy many flowers.

View of the tree with Phlox pilosa 'Eco Happy Traveler' in the background.
And now, a bonus:

The prairie smoke (Geum triflorum) is smokin'! Love those showy seedheads.
Bonus #2, Jack is back -

Can I get an "Amen"? Jack is in the pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum) and looking fine with his dark details. The darker forms seem to bloom later than the all green ones. This is just a natural variation that has arisen in my little population of jack-in-the-pulpits. His dark good looks are set off perfectly by the Hakonechloa macra 'Aureola.' I'd love to take credit for this, but he put himself there.
For more wildflower fun, visit Gail at Clay and Limestone.

Arisaema triphyllum, art, blooming, Cladrastis kentukea, flowers, garden, Geum triflorum, good, growing, love, time, wildflower, wildflowers, and more:

Wildflower Wednesday: A Special Event + winter