Friday, March 23, 2012

More Flowers Rush the Season

Another summery day in March.  I only had time for a quick walk through the Skidmore woods today, not expecting to see anything new from my walk there on Wednesday, just planning to stretch my legs.  But lo!  There I saw it:  one lonely little Bloodwort in a Trout Lily patch.  The Trout Lily leaves had emerged overnight, and the Bloodroot bloom was about half the size of normal, but still. . . there it was, opening its sunny little face to the sky, a full month ahead of schedule!

I was also surprised by Spicebush, little puffs of yellow floating as if on air, visible from some distance away in the woods.  I know they weren't here two days ago, because I had searched for them and couldn't find them.

I did expect to find these purple English Violets, since I had found their white-flowered variety on Wednesday.  These extremely fragrant, early blooming violets are not native to North America, but I'm awfully glad that someone long ago imported them, probably the Victorian ladies who lived in the mansions that once stood along the carriage roads in these woods.  I picked a little nosegay to bring home to fill my kitchen with fragrance.

Except for their exquisite fragrance, it would be hard to tell these purple violets apart from our native Common Blue Violets (which are not blooming yet), but a closer look into the throat of the flower reveals the distinctive hooked style that is diagnostic for this species.

One more floral surprise:  a patch of delightful little weeds called Hairy Bittercress, blooming a full month before I have ever found it before.  This is another of those tiny alien mustards that, like Draba verna, love to cover the soil in our garden patches before the gardeners come along to yank them out.  I happen to think they are quite pretty, especially the foliage, which is actually kind of hairy if you look really close.  

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