Saturday, May 21, 2011


The humble trillium is a fleeting beauty, blooming on deciduous forest floors throughout Ontario. Somehow, it knows that its time to shine is in May. It is not a showy creature, dressed in bridal white with three no-nonsense petals. It does not like to be picked (in fact, when we were young, we were taught that it was against the law to pick them, as they are the provincial flower of Ontario and very slow to reproduce).
My mother is a law-abiding citizen, generally. But she cannot resist seasonal plants. When we were kids, she would drive the getaway car as we crept into a local cornfield to cut a few stalks for her display on the front porch or altar at church. Pussywillows were also treasures to her. My dad used to get the task of finding boughs at Christmas time (he would always say, "I'm off to get your bows, love", as he bowed and bowed like a performing penguin.

Trilliums in their natural habitat...a forest floor rich with leaves and fallen branches.

Imagine the thrill we had each Spring, then, driving home from visiting relatives in would make dad stop on the roadside in sight of the "Welcome to Ontario!" billboard, and we'd hop out to pick few for our kitchen table. I still experience a feeling of illicit excitement when the trilliums come into bloom, remembering my mom teasing from the car, "I see a car coming!!", causing us to scramble back up the bank for our big getaway.

The rarest gem on the forest floor: a showgirl trillium appearing amongst the shyer white ones, wearing scarlet to the party. The other trilliums don't like her, but we all know they're just jealous!

Trilliums, otherwise known as the Mayflower: enjoy them, but don't pick 'em (says the reformed daughter-accomplice of a class-one offender!)


  1. Oh yeah.The memories! That was so much fun.I didn't think you would remember.I almost stopped the car(with your kids in it)

    to pick one each,but being in ON.I did not.Love mommy

  2. Those flowers are simply beautiful.

  3. In my family the red ones are called "Professor Stink Pots" ...and being from Quebec we could pick all we wanted...we'd pick HUGE boquets and bring them indoors to enjoy...except the purple ones stayed outside...PHHEEEW!

  4. Colin's dad always picks a bundle for their anniversary (the 15th). But if you saw our gully, you wouldn't worry about them reproducing fast enough :) Aren't the wake robins beautiful? I haven't seen one of those in a long time.


  5. I've been admiring the gals who are brave enough to show themselves in the ditches, but haven't yet had a chance to see them in their forest splendour. I'm hoping to get out into the woods this weekend to see what I can see.



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