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Peirce’s Woods in Bloom

April 25, 2016

Editor’s note: Orginally published in 2009, our “Peirce’s Woods in Bloom” blog post is relevant again at this very moment. Peirces Woods comes back into bloom every spring and puts on a spectacular show of native blooms for a few short weeks. The Garden is at peak bloom now. A slightly edited version of the 2009 post appears below. 

Phlox 'Sherwood Purple', Tiarella, and redbud trees blooming in Peirce's Woods. Photo by Larry Albee.Phlox 'Sherwood Purple', Tiarella, and redbud trees blooming in Peirces Woods. Photo by Larry Albee.

I love this time of year in Peirce’s Woods, even though it feels like a non-stop race to pull all the weeds before they go to seed. The beauty of the woods in bloom makes me forget all that. Suddenly all the flowers in Peirce’s Woods have opened all at once. 

Peirce's Woods in bloom. Foamflowers (Tiarella) drift across the middle path.

Foamflowers (Tiarella) drift across the middle path.

Peirce’s Woods is an art form garden, composed with native plants. The central design theme is large horizontal sweeps of groundcovers balancing the strong vertical lines of the mature tree trunks. Most of our native woodland flowers take advantage of the brief period in early spring before the trees fully leaf out to grow, flower and set seed. The two main groundcovers currently stealing the show are sweeps of white foamflowers (Tiarella) and ‘Sherwood Purple’ creeping phlox (Phlox stolonifera).

Peirce's Woods up close, clockwise from top left: foamflower (Tiarella), 'Sherwood Purple' phlox (Phlox stolonifera 'Sherwood Purple'), showy trillium (Trillium grandiflorum), Virginia bluebells (Mertensia virginica).Up close, clockwise from top left: foamflower (Tiarella), 'Sherwood Purple' phlox (Phlox stolonifera 'Sherwood Purple'), showy trillium (Trillium grandiflorum), Virginia bluebells (Mertensia virginica).

The purple and white sweeping groundcovers are echoed by the small flowering trees: purple flowering redbud (Cercis canadensis) and white flowering silverbells (Halesia) with flowering dogwoods (Cornus florida). Other flowers blooming in Peirce’s Woods right now are Virginia bluebells (Mertensia), dwarf crested iris (Iris cristata), rue-anemone (Thalictrum thalictrodies), and Mayapples (Podophyllum peltatum). Right now is the best time to see Peirce’s Woods in bloom.

Clockwise from top left: redbud (Cercis canadensis), Carolina silverbell (Halesia tetraptera), pinkshell azalea (Rhododendron vaseyi), flowering dogwood (Cornus florida).Clockwise from top left: redbud (Cercis canadensis), Carolina silverbell (Halesia tetraptera), pinkshell azalea (Rhododendron vaseyi), flowering dogwood (Cornus florida).

Clockwise from top left: dwarf fothergilla (Fothergilla gardenii), allspice (Calycanthus floridus), yellow trillium (Trillium luteum), red buckeye (Aesculus pavia).Clockwise from top left: dwarf fothergilla (Fothergilla gardenii), allspice (Calycanthus floridus), yellow trillium (Trillium luteum), red buckeye (Aesculus pavia).

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