Serendipity Gardens: Skol: Hepatica appears in seed catalog

Published 9:00 am Saturday, February 3, 2018

Serendipity Gardens by Carol Hegel Lang

Carol Hegel Lang is a green thumb residing in Albert Lea. Her column appears biweekly. Email her at

Amidst the falling snow and a blizzard warning, I am still dreaming about the approaching spring and getting back to gardening. The seeds and native plants have been ordered after much deliberation, and I am trying to whittle the wish list down to something manageable budget-wise.

Carol Hegel Lang

Email newsletter signup

The day the Prairie Nursery catalog arrived you could hear a yell almost equal to the Viking Skol after beating New Orleans — in their catalog this year they finally have hepatica! I have waited and waited for this catalog to have hepatica available as every time I have ordered it from other nurseries, it is sold out. To say that I was excited would be putting it mildly!

Sharp-lobed hepatica (hepatica acutiloba) is my favorite spring ephemeral and woodland plant, and I have searched high and low trying to find any available plants, so when I turned the page and there it was, I actually screamed and then immediately called my order in. This spring lovely is an important nectar source for early pollinators blooming in March through April. Neither John nor Roosevelt knew what the excitement was, as Roosevelt thought I was yelling for the Vikings, which I routinely did all season. Now that my orders are placed I decided to go through all of the old seeds packets I have and get rid of the old ones that I know will not germinate — some of them were 10 years old. I also ordered a few more trillium for my woodland shade garden in the backyard and come fall I will probably order a few more different plants for this garden. The chokecherry tree is also ordered, along with tall blue larkspur, columbine and northern sea oats. I anticipate ordering more from this nursery for fall once I know how much shade I will have in the front garden.

From Select Seeds I added queeny orange lime zinnia, a new variety for me to try along with my stand-by of Benary’s giant zinnias in several colors. These have been such great flowers to attract butterflies — and especially the monarchs — that I will continue to order them every year. Of course I can’t forget the cosmos in many varieties, along with a new one called gazebo mix. This gazebo mix blooms non-stop all summer in hues of pink, rose and white on a more compact plant that is great for smaller gardens. Also on my list was giant imperial larkspur and color fountain cleome. My garden should be colorful and attractive to pollinators with the beauties blooming all summer.

From Pinetree Seeds I ordered torch (tithonia) in the old standby orange and the new yellow as well as queen red lime zinnias. It will be exciting to see which of the colors of tithonia the butterflies prefer, as I have only planted the orange previously. I can’t wait to get seeds planted and watch them grow in the gardens.

The anticipation of the gardens and what they will look like come spring — as the ephemerals start blooming followed by tulips, daffodils and crocuses — and the excitement of watching them come alive again keeps my imagination working overtime. Each spring we start all over again with new life in the gardens, from flowers, birds and bunnies to our many pollinators.

Last year I added a house for mason bees and this year I hope to construct a pollinator hotel out of cinder block, wood, straw and sticks as a habitat for pollinators. They are very easy to make using things you already have around your garage or garden shed, but they sure do help big-time by providing places for the pollinators.

Another exciting event for me will be to check on the progress of our pollinator park at Brookside Park that was planted last June by the Twin Lakes 4-H members as well as members of Save the Monarchs of Freeborn County with a grant from Pheasants Forever.

Come on, spring! I am waiting impatiently for your arrival.

“Winter came down to our home one night quietly pirouetting in on silvery-toed slippers of snow, and we, we were children once again.” — Bill Morgan Jr.