Spiderwort, a set on Flickr.
When we moved into our house, the backyard hadn’t been touched in years. Have you seen I am Legend? It was like that (minus those scary, shrieking creatures). The entire lot was covered in a thick, dense jungle of weeds and bramble and mud.
Hedwig, the elderly woman who lived here before us, was well into her nineties when she passed away and didn’t have the physical ability to maintain the yard. But even among all those weeds, it was evident that a pretty extensive garden had once existed.
After we closed on the house, Hedwig’s daughter sent a note and told us to keep an eye out for the daffodils in spring. Sure enough, a field of brilliant yellow blossoms popped open in mid-April. These were followed by a curious indigo flower that I had never seen before, but have since identified as Virginia Spiderwort (Tradescantia virginiana).
Each stem has little clusters of purple flowers that open in the morning and close again in the afternoon sun. I read that the plant is native to the Mid-Atlantic region and does fine in clay soils, like mine. At one time, it was believed to be a cure for spider bites (hence the name), and it is still known to grow wild in some areas.