Monday, January 12, 2009


Several members of my wildflower group are already itching to get out in the wild. They're dying to dig.

Unless it's a rescue, I'm more of a looker than a digger. My thrill is in the hunt. I do enjoy garden tours, but to me, there's nothing like finding the flowers in their natural environment. (And then leaving them there!)

Anyway, I wouldn't recommend digging in January or February. But this Jacob's Ladder (Polemonium reptans) is one of the plants you can scout early - it's probably easier to spot the green now.

The plant's a lot taller in the spring, but some of the lower leaves stay green throughout the winter here. I'm not sure if that's the case in the north or not - maybe someone will comment and let me know.

There are several different types of Jacob's ladder, in almost every state and several Canadian provinces. But reptans is the only one in the south.


Anonymous said...


Just wanted to respond to your genealogy post 1/8/09. When I loafer with my brother we like to stop at old cemetaries scattered across the local counties. You can see how hard life was just from the number of infant and young children's graves. There is one near Brooksville that is especially sad. A lady is buried there along with seven(I think this is correct) of her children who died within the first year or so of life. Her one child that lived into adulthood died at 21. We take for granted how modern medicine has eliminated most childhood illness fears that haunted our ancestors. We can always find time to complain about what we don't have and how we long for retirement. Nobody retired back then, you worked or you didn't eat. Maybe we need to rethink things and make old things new again.

Take care, enjoy your blog.


W. Latane Barton said...

Does the Jacob's ladder bloom?

Rurality said...

Barry, you are so right, life was much harder back then, and people seemed to die like flies, especially children.

WLB, yes, it's a nice little purple bloom. Click on that last link, the word "reptans", and you can see a good photo of it.

Gail said...


Did you find any toothwort leaves? I just had to know;-) I like this little plant and found variegated plant (at the Krogers last fall)...let's see how it survived the winter!


Rurality said...

Gail, not yet! Well actually I thought I saw some tiny leaves that could have been them, but they were too small for me to tell for sure.

Lythrum said...

I agree with you, I don't like to dig up plants out in the wild, I like to leave them where they are. That way other people can enjoy them too.

Ericka said...

one of the things they do at the state park near my parents' house is go to construction sites before the destruction of nature starts and salvage as many of the plants as they can (with the property owner's permission). then they sell them to raise money for the park. it works out well for everyone, and mom's got a great wildflower garden at the end of the garage. her jack in the pulpit are amazing!

do you have bloodroot around you? fascinating plant. i really like it.

Pamela said...

I was always snooping out the spring plants when I was a little girl.

Last year one of the blogs had a wildflower hunt in early spring -- it was fun

Rurality said...

Lythrum, so often they don't survive the transplanting, too.

Erika, yep, we do have Bloodroot, but probably not as much as at our old house in Birmingham.

Pamela, the spring ephemerals are the most fun, to me! I guess it's because I'm tired of winter by then.