Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Heat Wave Brings Forth the Blooms

Oh my! I was gone from home for just three days, but the flowers I found blooming today are about two weeks ahead of when they've bloomed in years past. I guess that shouldn't surprise me, considering that the weather has been unseasonably warm, with temperatures around 80 or higher for nearly a week. I walked through the Skidmore woods this afternoon expecting to maybe find Spicebush in bloom, but wonder of wonders, the Bloodroot was already blooming, too. And so were a few Trout Lilies.

With its tufts of bright yellow flowers, Spicebush is sometimes called Wild Forsythia.

Baby Bloodroot flowers are wrapped in a blanket of leaves.

What could be lovelier than pure white Bloodroot with those little suns in the center?

This Trout Lily clump finds a cozy spot by a tree's roots.

I passed a patch of Wood Anemone not yet in bloom, but the pretty pink buds were just about to open.

I next drove a few miles north to the Orra Phelps Nature Preserve in Wilton, where I found the Plantain-leaved Sedge had sprouted its wild hair-do.

And American Fly Honeysuckle was dangling its twin yellow trumpets. This is one of our few native honeysuckles.

Studding the dark green moss along the bank of a stream were these vividly yellow Round-leaved Violets.

So the wildflower season has started in earnest. Maybe tomorrow I'll take my canoe to the river and look for Sweet Gale and Trailing Arbutus. It sure feels good to be back on my old stomping grounds, after three days downstate. Yes, it was great to see all my kids and grandkids, and yes, it was wonderful to visit New York, walking through Central Park with its beautiful gardens and flowering trees, and visiting both the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Natural History Museum. But I wonder what kind of oddball I am, that one of the highlights of my time away was finding a plain little alien weed in my daughter's front lawn.

It's called Whitlow Grass (Draba verna), so tiny as to be almost invisible if it didn't bloom in such masses, and it's not even a native wildflower. But I had never seen it before, and now I know its name.


catharus said...

Wonderful shots, Jackie. I don't recall ever seeing that American Fly Honeysuckle. I'll have to consult with my friend and professor emeritus of botany, at Penn State, as to if and where we might find those in our neck of the woods (central PA). But I love (!) that first shot of the Bloodroot -- 'couldn't have a better representative image of the season!

Ellen Rathbone said...

I was surprised to see the forsythia in bloom in Glens Falls on Monday when I was there. Like you said - everything is early this year. But fly honeysuckel already? We don't usually see that up here until mid-May. I wonder when it will open this year. Hm...

suep said...

Welcome home !
What a lovely bloodroot trio, can't remember seeing it in bloom before May ...
Your blog wonderfully illustrates the wisdom of keeping a plant journal from year to year.
And thanks to seeing your spring photos, I have located some of that Plantain-Leaved Sedge in my neighborhood (in my taxomic ignorance, I have been calling it "Blonde-Moment Grass")

Jacqueline Donnelly said...

Thanks for your comments, catharus and Ellen and Sue. That American Fly Honeysuckle is usually an early bloomer, but this year it's REALLY early! I have several years of plant journals, so I can look back and note that it usually blooms the last week of April in Saratoga County. The same goes for Bloodroot.

Not to worry, Sue. I called that sedge Yellow-flowered Grass for years. A commenter on my blog corrected me. Whatever its name, I love its wild touseled locks.

Dave Behm said...

Great photos, as always, Jackie! After seeing your photo of Wood Anemone about to bloom, I wanted to know if you've ever see Nightdrops (Anemone nemerosa var. quinquefolia). (FYI - You won't find it in Newcomb!) Today (4/9/2010), I found a few just beginning to bloom at Ann Lee Pond Nature & Historic Preserve in Colonie.

Also, Aldo Leopold wrote about Draba in one of his April essays in "A Sand County Almanac." Reading it will assure you that you are not alone finding both beauty and excitement in seeing a "blooming weed"! Coincidentally, I also made my initial discovery of it, also at Ann Lee Pond Preserve last weekend.

Jacqueline Donnelly said...

Dave Behm, I am so grateful to you for clueing me in to that Aldo Leopold passage about Draba verna. I had to smile when I read that "He who searches for spring with his knees in the mud finds it, in abundance." I must find a way to use Leopold's comments in a post.

No I have never seen Anemone nemerosa. One of these days I must make it down to the Ann Lee Preserve.