When I look out my kitchen windows onto the shady backyard I see tiny plants making a comeback amid bushels and bushels of fallen oak leaves. It takes some looking but here are some blooms I found popping up through the leaves.
This bromeliad was gifted to me from a gardening friend and is blooming for the first time in my garden. I don't know the name of it but it sure is pretty.
Spiderwort, Tradescantia ohiensis, is a native plant I considered a weed for the first 20 years I lived here. I've dug so many of these up I've lost count. A few years ago I was browsing a native plant fair and saw these flowers being sold for $4/ gallon size pot. Having a monetary value placed on these and seeing them listed as native plants, I now carefully cultivate them. They grow well in the floodzone of my middle backyard and are just loving the wet earth there. Another reason to love these plants is that they didn't skip a beat during the cold weather.
Another plant that the cold didn't faze is the blue walking iris, neomarica gracilis. I have these hopelessly mixed together with the yellow variety, neomarica longifolia, and when they bloom en masse starting about this time of year, they are quite lovely.
The 'Fruit Cocktail' shrimp plant, Justicia brandegeana, is a recent purchase that was made to give some color to a slowly returning garden.
These plants are all under my huge live oak tree that creates one big self-mulching bed taking up half the backyard. My Garden Path gets its name from the circular path that surrounds the oak. As soon as leaf fall and pollen fall are over in a week or so, this area will be a favorite spot to spend time as it is always cool and pleasant under the big oak.