Silently stealing the show – The Liverlilies

Img_1602_2 This year, we’ve had the time of our lives,  happily surviving several
frost-filled nights and putting forth more blooms than ever before. As the days grow warmer, the time will soon come when we must say goodbye.

We
aren’t ready to take our leave just yet. If by chance you were to  happen upon us, you would almost certainly be charmed by our cheerful beauty, especially on a sunny and warm spring day.Liverlily_2

When our blooms are gone, what will be left are quiet remembrances of our beauty. Our odd-shaped seedheads will linger for a time before disappearing, while our reddish-tinged, liver-shaped leaves will  remain healthy all summer long. That’s because we are partially shaded by trees and plants.Img_1607

We like to think that we are still noticed in the garden all summer long though, even if our sunny buttercup-like blooms have become distant memories. Sometimes we fancy that the gardener is smiling fondly upon us. We watch and we listen to the world unfolding around us.

There are now five clumps of us (Liverlilies – Hepatica nobilis)
in two different places in the garden. Each spring we race to see who
will be the first to toss up blooms. Every year, the eldest of us wins, but that doesn’t stop us from trying. We are ever hopeful.Llily03

A long time ago, it was thought that we played a role in curing liver ailments.  Just because  our three-lobed leaves were thought to resemble human livers does not mean that we had any special healing powers.  Now we are mostly left in peace in gardens and also in the wild places we still inhabit. 

The thing about gardens is that everyone thinks they go on growing, that in winter they sleep and in spring they rise. But it’s more that they die and return, die and return. They lose themselves. They haunt themselves.

Every story is a story about death. But perhaps, if we are lucky, our story about death is also a story about love.

And this is what I have remembered of love. (Helen Humphreys, The Lost Garden)

47 thoughts on “Silently stealing the show – The Liverlilies

  1. Karen says:

    Lovely quote – and a delightful post Kate.
    They are utterly charming – but I wish they weren’t called liver lilies!
    Regards
    Karen

  2. our friend Ben says:

    We call ’em hepaticas down here. But whatever the name, few plants are as delightful. Thanks so much for sharing the lovely photos, and that marvelous quote! A story about love, indeed. Somewhat ironic in light of the fact that the French at one time believed that the liver was the seat of emotion rather than the heart!

  3. Frances says:

    Liverlily lovlies, thank you for continuing to grace dear Kate’s world. Your colors are pleasing and soothing and your faces full of fun. Your beauty will still be admired after the flowers have faded, I am sure.
    Frances

  4. teeni says:

    Wow – aren’t they beautiful flowers! I like how you describe them as ever hopeful at attempting to be the first to bloom. I have never seen these before. I’m so glad I can come here and learn about them from you. 🙂 Also, a sobering but beautiful quote!

  5. Cheryl says:

    Well they have stolen my heart. I love small flowers, and the colour is stunning. The detail on such a tiny bloom is amazing. Those little beauties can come in my garden anytime. AND I will remember them.

  6. Diane M. Schuller says:

    oh such lovely conversation by those blue beauties! I LOVE that excerpt from Helen Humphries book. I especially loved her lines, “They lose themselves. They haunt themselves.” Oh, that is so thought provoking … that will linger with me.

  7. Annie in Austin says:

    The other name, Liverwort, is no treat, either… makes this sweet flower sound as if it’s bought from a deli.
    Perhaps your posts about Liverlilies, Kate, and your repetition of the word will eventually mold our minds so that we no longer think of medical theories and the doctrine of signatures or of lunchmeat… someday Liverlilies will only call up mental images of blue woodland flowers with reddish leaves.
    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  8. Debi says:

    Lovely flowers. I’m not familiar with them but love their color and simple beauty. An unfortunate name for such a delicate face.

  9. Curtis says:

    I can’t say a thing. Your post from the plants POV is so down on their level. They got a bad name but are nice plants. I am surprized I didn’t see L. in there sniffing the flowers.
    I can hear it now from the plants.(Hey whats that dog doing with its cold nose on me, please don’t step on Me! Hey call him over to you- yea you tomato, I know you heard me!):)

  10. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    Hi Kate, I don’t think the Liverlillies are “silently” stealing the show. They appear to be SCREAMING “Look at me. I am beautiful in blue!”

  11. eliz says:

    The great American watercolor painter Charles Burchfield loved hepaticas and used them in many of his paintings. These photographs help explain their great appeal.

  12. Barbara says:

    They are beautiful, these little, delicate flowers (which has the same name=translation) and one of the first blue Spring flowers here.

  13. Linda O'Neill says:

    I am blown away by the color of those Liverlilies. Gorgeous!
    Loved the quote too. Hope you and Lytton have a nice weekend, sweet friend. Give him a kissie from Maisie, will ya?!

  14. Weeping Sore says:

    Gorgeous – my favorite color. I enjoy reading the history of flowers, but this is the first time I’ve read a history as told BY the flower!

  15. Selma says:

    What a poignant quote about the garden not sleeping but dying and being reborn. It is sad and joyful at the same time. I want a scarf in liverlily colour. I will feel like a Queen!

  16. Kim says:

    Count me among the converted, too! I expected to see a reddish-brown flower (maybe the color of chocolate cosmos) on your “liverlilies,” but… wow. That blue!

  17. entangled says:

    Such a vivid blue! I’m so glad the doctrine of signatures has been discarded – it would be a shame to dig up beauty like that to cure something dreary.

  18. VP says:

    One of my spring favourites Kate. Luckily I know them as Hepatica rather than Liverlilies. Hope you are well, enjoying your garden, painting, music and have a good weekend!

  19. Amy says:

    Kate, such gorgeous flowers! This is the first time I’ve seen liverlilies. Now I know why you love them so.

  20. Ki says:

    Spectacular. Thanks for posting the pictures so I can vicariously enjoy what my own hepaticas lacked. Neither of my two plants bloomed this year.

  21. kerri says:

    Hi lovely Liverlilies! 🙂 So nice to see you!
    Oh, beautiful, Kate! I’m adding them to my wish list as we speak. Such wonderful color and form, and your photos are beautiful. I love anemones, don’t you? I hope your days are filled with sunshine and that you’re feeling well!

  22. Pam says:

    The liverlilies are quite beautiful – and some new to this southern gardener, and something that I must admire from afar. I’m glad to see that the fish are back into their pond, and that your garden is growing.

  23. Cris says:

    Dear Kate
    How much time we don’t talk.
    I hope everything is ok with you.
    Your little flowers are so beatiful, I’ve liked them a lot.
    Cris

  24. Gotta Garden says:

    Hey Kate: What a lovely post! Maybe, just maybe I’ll have a few to enjoy here next year as I found some at a favorite nursery in Chincoteague (last time I was at this nursery, I found an entire dead flat of them…boohoo). I’m a bit concerned about placement, so any suggestions are appreciated. Yours are so pretty! Thanks for bringing them some much deserved attention…and brightening up the blog world, too!

  25. Gotta Garden says:

    Hey Kate: What a lovely post! Maybe, just maybe I’ll have a few to enjoy here next year as I found some at a favorite nursery in Chincoteague (last time I was at this nursery, I found an entire dead flat of them…boohoo). I’m a bit concerned about placement, so any suggestions are appreciated. Yours are so pretty! Thanks for bringing them some much deserved attention…and brightening up the blog world, too!

  26. jardineira aprendiz says:

    Now it is my time to envy your garden! From now on it will be so fresh, and with such plant variety and color. We are having our days of color. In a month or so, it will probably be too hot and plants will loose its spring colors. But it is the other side of south!

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