The first Water Avens in my garden was less than impressed with the average to dry conditions found there and proceeded to bloom, set seed and then perish. The seeding was successful though, with a second-generation plant having found an acceptable location that receives about a half of a day of sun, has fairly rich soil and tends to stay moist most of the time because of the shade during the hottest part of the day and how rain is shed off of nearby roofs. It isn’t surprising that this is a preferred location. Outside of cultivation, they can most often be found in damp areas and along rivers and streams.
Not as wispy in the seeding stage as their Prairie Smoke relatives (day 5 in this series), these have incredibly adorable little blooms each spring and foliage that is early to emerge and stays dense and green through the summer and into the fall. Their bloom season would likely be somewhat longer if they were in a sunnier, but equally moist, location. Foliage height is 8” to 12”, with the flowers rising a few inches above that in late May or early June. While it has yet to happen in my garden, the internet tells me that these will eventually spread and form a dense, leafy groundcover if they are happy with their conditions.
Young plants are distressingly similar in appearance to young Wood Avens (Geum urbanum, the only Geum which is invasive in the area) seedlings, which has led to many Wood Avens seedlings being left to mature into their second, blooming age, year before being pulled as their blooms let me know which is which. I kept a close eye on this plant as the summer progressed and was able to gather seeds in the short window between when the seeds matured and when the bur-like seed heads shattered.
Those seeds are now in a pot, tucked inside a plastic clamshell (the kind that some fruits come in at grocery stores) out on the back patio for their winter stratification. Fingers crossed that there will plenty of babies come spring.