Sometimes wildflowers volunteer in the garden. In most cases I welcome these primitive cousins of garden flowers. In slightly cultivated situations where the conditions are very favorable for the plant, a wildflower can produce quite a show. Right now the False Solomon’s Seal (Smilacina racemosa) is in full bloom. What began as one small plant years ago has now grown into a large clump of foamy white flowers. The late spring flowers become red berries in fall. I’m not sure what this plant is lying about to be called false. To me it bears little resemblance to its relative, true Solomon’s Seal.
False Solomon’s Seal has an edible shoot that can be gathered and cooked like asparagus in the early spring. I prefer to allow my plants to grow unharvested, since I’ve got plenty of real asparagus to enjoy.
Another woodland denizen that has settled in my garden is Jack in the Pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum.) As children, we loved to search for these flowers in the forest and lift the hood to find the hidden “jack” saying his prayers.
The jack is really a fleshy stem called a spadix that is covered with tiny male and female flowers. This Jack in the Pulpit grows near the False Solomon’s Seal. Both prefer the same moist, dappled shade environment.
Jack in the Pulpit is pollinated by flies and produces a clump of shiny red berries in the fall. The plant contains oxylates and should not be consumed.
Landscaping with wild flowers gives a natural feeling to the homestead. I never take plants from the wild, only encourage ones that show up in the rock gardens. Wild plants are more environmentally friendly. They are ideally adapted to the local climate and do not require the care domesticated plants need to survive, such as water during droughts. There will always be room in my garden for the wildflowers.