Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Bud Break Today!

Finally!  Following a stretch of nice warm days and a couple of good rains, the snow at last was ALL gone from the woods at Orra Phelps Nature Preserve today.  Time to go look for Snow Trillium!

It was such a pleasure to walk on trails that were finally clear of slippery ice, and also to delight in the sounds of the Little Snook Kill as it danced and tumbled through the woods.

As I passed by the muddy swale where dozens and dozens of Skunk Cabbages had been blooming for weeks already, I noted that the huge green leaves were now unfurling from amidst the curvaceous deep-red spathes.

After holding my breath as I climbed the ridge where I know the Snow Trillium grow, I let out a gasp of delight when I saw the snow-white buds protruding from their trios of little green leaves. I was here  just two days ago, and could find no sign of either leaves or flowers then. But Snow Trillium flowers don't wait very long to emerge, once the leaves have appeared, as if by magic, overnight.

We are so lucky that Orra Phelps herself must have planted these tiny Snow Trilliums, since their natural range is far to the south and west of Saratoga County.  But they certainly have thrived at this spot, living up to their common and Latin name (Trillium nivale) by blooming very, very early in spring, often while snow still lies in the shady hollows.

Encouraged by the trilliums' blooms, I made a detour to the Skidmore woods as I headed back to Saratoga from Wilton.  Remember those wee little Sharp-lobed Hepatica buds that I found last Friday, curled so tight and hiding way down beneath the leaves?  Today, the pretty pink flowers were peeking out from their fuzzy bracts, held aloft on lengthening stems that were straining toward the sunlight.

As I turned to go, I spotted a second Hepatica plant, this one with flowers that tended more toward the lavender, open even a little bit wider than the first ones I had found.

 Oh happy day! Just a bit more warm weather and the Skidmore woods will be carpeted with hundreds of these beautiful blooms in all their lovely colors, from pristine white through shades of pink and lavender to a few rare ones of deepest purple.  And then comes the spring ephemerals flood: Long-spurred, Yellow, and Canada Violets; Bloodroot; Large-flowered White and Red Trilliums; Trout Lilies; Blue Cohosh; Foamflower; Columbine; Miterwort; Goldenseal; Wild Ginger; Large-flowered and Perfoliate Bellworts, etc., etc., etc.  Wildflower adventures await!


The Furry Gnome said...

Never seen a snow Trillium, but lots of Hepatica here too.

Woody Meristem said...

The only snow trillium I've ever seen were planted in a wildflower garden; our hepatica aren't up yet -- but soon.

greentangle said...

Love the skunk cabbage.