Tour An Illinois Woodland Garden
The conditions favor ephemeral flowers that burst into life then fade as other plants unfurl. Barbara's favorites are the charming trout lilies (Erythronium albidum and E. americanum), so named for their speckled leaves.
"They're a delight. I didn't plant them, but each year they've presented themselves in ever-increasing swaths." For groundcover, she favors wild ginger. "It keeps down weeds, and it's less formal-looking than hostas." Ostrich ferns also spread quickly, she says.
Not all of the plants were self-starters, of course. Barbara grew many from seed. "I started a lot of my hellebores this way," she says. "They're not native, but I love them. And woodland phlox can be propagated by division."