Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Christmas in April
Oh burgeoning Spring! Each April day is like Christmas morning, when I bound out of bed eager to see what beautiful gifts Mother Nature has left for me under the trees. You'd think I'd be bored by the hunt by now, after more than ten years of keeping wildflower journals. But no, I'm just as excited as ever to greet each returning flower as if it were a long-lost friend. And wow, when I find a new one, I wouldn't trade diamonds or pearls for the sheer delight that brings me. Even when it's just a drab little weed, like that Draba verna I wrote about a few posts back.
What I found today was no drab little weed, but a genuine treasure for wildflower enthusiasts. Not a new find for me, but a rare one, because Twinleaf often waits to bloom until just when you've averted your gaze, then quick! drops its petals before you can turn around. I've been stalking this one in the shade garden at Yaddo for days, and bless my stars, I caught its brief moment of bloom today. Many other years, I am not so lucky.
I suppose in some ways it doesn't count as a wildflower find, when a specimen grows in a planted garden. Maybe some day I will find this rare flower in the wild. But I wouldn't count on it.
Bloodroot is hardly a rare flower. A brief bloomer, true, but profligate in its season. I find it strewn by the hundreds along many roadsides, yet never do I pass it by without rejoicing in its beauty.
Bellwort also blooms in masses, thronging damp creeksides before the tree canopy closes in. This is the Sessile-leaved Bellwort, so called because of the way its leaves clasp the stem.
There are two other bellworts that bloom a little later in the spring: Large-flowered (which I'll post a photo of when it comes into season) and Perfoliate Bellwort, so called for the way its stem appears to pierce (perforate) its leaf. I'm posting its photo now to show how it differs from Sessile-leaved.
I was truly startled to find Rue Anemone in bloom today, since I've never found it before the first week of May. True, it's just beginning to flower and won't come into its full glory for some days yet. But there it was, peeking out of the dead leaf litter on a rocky roadside bank. This seems to be much less common an anemone than other native species, like Wood or Canada Anemones. I know of only one place to find it around here.
Well, flowers are certainly my great joy, but the truth is I could survive without finding them. Not so for the pollinators. They were out in force today, feasting away in a sunny Wild Strawberry patch. Here are just two that sat still long enough for me to take their picture.