Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Planting Natives: Hepatica and Mertensia

Popping up in my garden right now is one of my favorite native plants, Hepatica nobilis. I planted this little girl last spring, while she was in her dormant period--so I feel especially excited to see her flowering for the first time here in her new home!

Anemone Hepatica or Hepatica nobilis -- the jury is still out on the 'true' taxonomy and classification. Also known as Liverwort, the pink variety is called 'obtusa'.  Personally, Liverwort doesn't seem very fitting for this dainty charmer, and I certainly can't go with 'obtusa' I just like to call her Hepatica.  I've been hoping to catch her with more of her 'babies' opened up, but it's still just a little early. This is how she looked today, all pink and 'girly', and perhaps just a little shy. I would like to add more like her, eventually, so she won't have to be an 'only child' in my garden;-) (On the other hand, purchasing natives can end up costing quite a lot of money, so I've been ordering individually to see how a particular plant does in my garden, with the idea that I'll order more later if things seem to work out. In many cases, it's my hope that they might eventually spread out and I can divide).

(Click on the photos to enlarge. My SLR is in the Nikon repair shop so these are with my Cannon point and shoot. I think it does pretty well and have enjoyed using it more now while the other one is out of commission.)

And then, there is Mertensia virginica. Virginia Bluebells is another favorite native plant and this is one of 4  that I planted about 3 years ago. This little beauty is also known as Virginia Cowslip and Boraginaceae...but I am not crazy about either of those names so I call her Mertensia or Virginia Bluebells. She has only just popped out and is showing off her pretty blue buds which will soon open up to form bell-shaped flowers.

I had wanted to share more information about each plant, but due to a lack of time, I will do that in future posts later on.  Here is a USDA link that gives some interesting facts about Hepatica nobilis as well as a link.

Be sure to join Gail at Clay and Limestone for more natives on Wildflower Wednesday.
Words and photos ©Thanks for today.™, by Jan Huston Doble @
Not to be reproduced or re-blogged without express permission of the author.


  1. She looks cute. Being a native makes her extra special isn't it!

  2. Love them both! I cut back my Hepatica, and I think it might have killed it. No sign of life from it at all. I have to get some Virginia Bluebells into my garden.

  3. Very cute pink flower, your Hepatica looks lovely in your beautiful garden. Happy spring!

  4. They look great. Glad you're enjoying the spring treasures in your garden.

  5. So nice to see these treasures popping up!

  6. I love both Va. Bluebells and Hepatica. I've been meaning to add Hepatica for a while. I used to see beautiful wild blue ones went I went walking on the trail around Duke Golf Course.

  7. I love Virginia Bluebells!! Think I need to get some.

  8. Your Liverwort is too sweet.
    I really should try Virgina bluebells again.

    Boy or boy, since last Fall everyone seems to be changing their blog look.
    Looking good !

  9. look at those bluebells getting ready to burst...mine are no where to be found yet...too cold...well soon I will be showing you mine in bloom..

  10. Love the Hepatica! I noticed the Cherries are blossoming in D.C. Does that mean the Crabapples and Apples are blossoming in your area, too? Enjoy the beauty!

  11. Nice post, Jan. The Hepatica is as sweet as can be. :-)

  12. Thanks for sharing all this information on your Hepatica, Jan, as well as the link to the USDA website. I've seen her featured on other blogs, too, but really didn't know much about her. This is a darling native I really should check into!

    Our local Prairie Plant Society holds a plant sale every year in early May. It's a great way to get some native starts at very reasonable prices.

  13. Always wounderful to see what is coming up when from year to year,
    lots of love MB

  14. Chandramouli, yes, you're right, she's special!
    Shady, happy spring to you;-)
    Alison, wonder if the cutting back is what killed it, or some other reason? Or, maybe it's still not showing up? Hope she makes an appearance. Yes, get some va. bluebells!
    Thanks Priscilla;-)Glad you stopped by;-)
    Hi GSS, glad to see you:-) I am enjoying the treasures! Hope you are having some to enjoy,too.
    Thanks Darla...yes, they really are treasures!
    Hi Sweetbay, I so want so blue Hepatica. I am sure I will be ordering some soon or if I see any at the spring native plant sale, I'll get them. THey're usually hard to get at plant sales, though, so I'll probably have to get them online.
    Yes Janet...definitely get some va. bluebells. Having lived in Virginia, you just gotta have 'em! (They 'should' be the state flower, in my opinion!)
    I love your WW, Gail! I have added lots of new natives and want to join in whenever I can manage it! Yes those little Hepatica are quite tiny...I haven't looked at them while lying on the ground just yet. But that would probably be the best way;-)
    Hi Patsi, great to hear from you! Try some bluebells...they seem to grow easily here with no problems.
    Donna, I hope your bluebells will pop up soon. They are sweet ephemerals.
    Hi Beth, I believe apple blossoms start blooming around mid APriland crabapples about the same time or even into May.... I love crabapple trees even more than the cherry blossoms. They just don't tend to do quite as well down here. We had them when we lived in Pennsylvania and Maine...I can't remember seeing any around here, although I'm sure people have them.Last year I wrote a post on the DC Cherry Blossoms but it's a bit chillier this year so don't think we'll go visit. People in my neighborhood have some cherry trees that are beginning to blossom so that will have to be my 'fix' for this year!
    THanks, Shady;-)
    Thanks, Rose;-)I'm glad you enjoyed the links! Native plant sales are great...I went last year and got some wonderful plants. Sometimes you get deals but I didn't think everything was a 'deal'. Online they are much more expensive though, for the most part. THe thing is, at the plant sale I went to, it was limited to certain if you're looking for ones they don't have, then you have to 'pay' for them, and that can add up!
    Hi Mary, so happy to have you stop by! Happy spring to you;-)

  15. Jan, I have tried hepatica so many times unsuccessfully (and am trying it again this year). I have always gone with H. americana or acutiloba and didn't realize H. noilis is native. I will have to see if it is easier to grow. Carolyn

  16. Well Carolyn, I am certainly no expert but I have read that H. nobilis is native to Asia, Europe and northeastern North America. I hope I am correct in my reporting but that's what my sources tell me;-) Sometimes it's difficult to know where a plant is 'really' native to. I hope you will get it to do well in your garden;-)

  17. Hello Jan, little Hepatica sure is a cutie :) I'm looking forward to seeing those Virginia Bluebells in full bloom when the time comes! Heidi

  18. Hi Jan, here I am visitng to see what you are up to! Your header photo is gorgeous and I love your plant name tags. That sweet girly pink flower is right up my street, I am a pink person ! I have sown some Zinnia seeds which are the most delightful shades of pink, they are growing well and I can't wait to get them in the ground and watch them grow bigger and then flower (fingers crossed !!)

    Thanks for stopping by my blog, it's always lovely to hear from you.
    M x


Thanks so much for visiting and taking the time to comment! Please enjoy your TODAY and all of the gifts in YOUR garden of life!


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