Bang’s Bloodroot

Bloodroot flowers last one day.

Only 5 bloodroots bloomed on March 13 when I started my blog on Yard Bloomers. Today, March 17, I counted 49 plants! A few were young ones that weren’t going to bloom, and many had already bloomed. The flowers only last one day.

False rue anenome also bloomed then. Now spring beauties, false rue anenome, cut-leaved toothworts and 1 purple trillium bloom.

Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis) blooms March into April in rich moist woods. The flower opens before the rolled-up leaf uncurls. The leaves will continue growing up to 8 inches across and then wilt in mid summer.

I have a sentimental attachment to the wildflowers in this garden. The garden is a wedge shape with the narrow end being rounded. A big hackberry tree grows on the west side of the garden and a pine on the east. A sweet gum grows to the south 15 feet or so from the garden. The sweet gum and the hackberry affected the pine’s growth to where it looks like had about half of it was cut off. Only 4 spindly limbs grow on the “bare” side over the garden.

At least 25 years ago, Bang, my high school girl scout leader, wanted me to come and dig all the wildflowers I wanted from beside her house. I have no idea how long she’d had that garden. Her health was fading. She wanted someone who would appreciate the wildflowers to have them, rather than another landowner later on.

One story Bang used to tell was how she and her husband (they didn’t have any kids) would take their camper every year and camp from the day after Christmas until New Years. One time they opened the camper door to find it had snowed. They suited up, stepped out of the camper and  hiked most of the day. I always thought that sounded like such a special tradition.

I was Bang’s entertainment when she was housebound with emphysema. I’d go by and tell her about my outings. Near the end, she wanted an outing down to my rural property. My husband went along “just in case.”  She sat in the front seat of my Blazer. She was on the edge of her seat when we topped the hill that gave a view across a short wooded hill and then up a steep one. We had to keep telling Ron to slow down to a crawl. She didn’t want to miss a thing. He parked in camp where she had a good view of the grassy barrens, and then he walked away. I opened the door and Bang turned in the seat. I brought several flowers for her to see. I then walked on down the trail for a short time so she could be alone. We probably stayed 15 minutes at the most. She was so excited and getting overly tired.

For so many years I thought how sad that had to have been for her to know it would be her last nature outing. I also remembered the look of peace and of excitement on her face. I finally realized that it wasn’t sad, because she was able to experience nature one last time in a special place and on such a beautiful day.  She could also walk through those memories anytime she wanted. I feel honored and so grateful to have given her such a gift … and for my being a part of it too.

I still miss her … and do so enjoy watching her flowers bloom through the season.


4 responses to this post.

  1. Cool picture! I have never seen such a thing!


  2. Posted by Therese Beavers on March 18, 2012 at 12:18 pm

    I’m typing with tears in my eyes and warmth in my heart. What a special gift you and Bang gave to one another. Many people get so consumed by their lives that they forget the beautiful “free” things that surround them. Thank you for sharing your special moment. Maybe others will be inspired by you and Bang.


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