Soon after I moved to Muskoka in 1992 I met Joan Brown through the Muskoka Field Naturalists. She was an enthusiatic birder, lover of wildflowers, fed Wood Ducks along her lakeshore and grew up and lived on Lake Rosseau. Joan was quite a force of nature herself and voiced her concerns and opinions easily. She was a marvel to me!
She was forced to sell her her beloved place and at that time she divided her special trilliums amongst several MFN friends with the hope that enough would survive and that some would be given back to her for her new garden.
The ones she gave me were planted near my door on Lake Joseph and did very well. When I was building my new place on Porter Lake I dug up the trilliums and transplanted them to a spot where they could be seen from one of my windows.
I planted the trilliums on a Sunday afternoon in the early fall of 2003 along with the bulbs of more than ninety Jack-in-the-Pulpits that had sprung up from a single cone of fruit. The next day was one of the very few that I wasn’t able to be at my new place during its construction and when I did arrive I found that a drainage ditch had been dug and all the earth put on top of my new plantings. It was all carefully removed but a great worry that the trilliums would not live through the trauma.
Success has been varied. One year a White-tailed Deer ate all the blooms and since then they have been protected by tomato cages. They have done very well this year and I am sharing some of my images of them and you will see why they are so special. They have seven layers of petals which gives twenty-one instead of the normal three.
Soon after Joan moved to her new house she was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Her burial service was in the spring and her trilliums were in full bloom. Although I had never picked a trillium before, I had to pick one for her.
Every year when the trilliums bloom I get to give thanks to Joan for choosing me as one of the lucky people to grow them on and remember all the wonderful things she taught me about the flora and fauna of Muskoka. I has taken five years for the Trillium grandiflora to increase to the numbers I planted in 2003.
Wesite at: eleanorkeewellman.com