Monday, April 13, 2020

The Week in Wildflowers

Enough with the bad news! No more moaning about disease or deforestation.  Let's just look at the flowers now showing up in various local woods.  The weather has been very changeable, from balmy warm to windy cold to driving rain to even a brief snow shower, with every night consistently cold, the temps dropping into the 30s.  But "the force that through the green fuse drives the flower" has not let up, no matter the daily weather, so that every day I go out I find something new.

A week ago, I found  the Leatherwood flowers had broken through their furry buds to dangle small yellow trumpets in the Skidmore Woods.

The forest floor at Skidmore is green with sedges, including this narrow-leaved, early-blooming one, with its tousled head of yellow stamens and wispy little white threads of pistillate flowers lower down on the stem.

The hepatica festival is in full swing now in the Skidmore woods, where I found both round-lobed and sharp-lobed species, their flowers displaying most of the lovely colors this wildflower is known to bloom in. I thought this one was particularly remarkable because its whitish sepals were edged with deep pink.  The more common color scheme for hepatica blooms is for the colored sepals to be edged with whitish "haloes."

Here was one of the round-lobed hepaticas displaying blooms of a lovely rich purple.

This pristinely white hepatica was blooming a few days ago at Orra Phelps Nature Preserve in Wilton.

I found this next hepatica just yesterday, Easter Sunday, at the Ballston Creek Preserve. It looks as if it couldn't make up its mind whether to produce white flowers or purple ones, so it compromised by producing white ones brushed with purple.  Lovely!

I had gone to the Ballston Creek Preserve to see if the Carolina Spring Beauties were carpeting the forest floor there.  I certainly was not disappointed! Thousands of them, each new cluster of pink-striped blooms more lovely than the last.

There were also thousands of Trout Lily's mottled green leaves all over the woods at Ballston Creek, but of all those thousands of plants, only a single one was bearing a flower.  Just wait, though.  Soon there will be a sea of these lovely yellow blooms, I imagine. Although I know that most plants never seem to bloom.

As I left the woods at Ballston Creek and came out onto a sunlit verge, there I saw a splendid  profusion of Bloodroot in bloom right next to the road.  What an incredibly beautiful flower, with pristine white petals arrayed symmetrically around a sunburst of golden stamens. A perfect flower to chance upon at Easter, its radiant bloom like a glorious ALLELUIA!!! made visible.

This last flower, which I found at the Orra Phelps Nature Preserve in Wilton, made me want to shout "Alleluia!" myself.  For this is the first of our native violets to bloom.  And I dearly love violets.  This vividly lemon-yellow one is the Round-leaved Violet, and it opens wide its flowers before its leaves have even unfurled.  Note that this yellow violet has basal leaves only.

We have another native yellow violet called Downy Yellow Violet, but that one has flowers of a paler hue, and its leaves grow from the same stems as the flowers. It also blooms later in spring than this one does.  But all these early bloomers are sharing a single message -- that the wildflower season is  now upon us in earnest.  As I said before:  Alleluia!


Jeff nadler said...

The quality of your photos is astonishing!

I just found one Hepatica at Ballston Creek at the largest tree near the bench at the end. Did you find more?

Woody Meristem said...

The variety of hepatica colors is always outstanding. Here there are few pink flowered hepatica, I've never been able to determine if it a situation involving our acidic soils or if, for some reason, it's been genetically determined for some unknown reason.

threecollie said...

Your photos are, as always, stunning! What a spring for wildflowers! We pass an Amish farm where the woods by the road are carpeted by clustered hepatica. What a show! And bloodroot coming up all over. So thankful for something good this miserable spring.

Kenneth Hicks and Anne Rothman-Hicks said...

Thank you for your photos and your blog! Wonderful!

Anonymous said...


Mary Cuffe Perez said...

A friend of mine complained yesterday that she was so tired of the everyday blandness outside and I said to her "go into the woods ... spring flowers are blooming everywhere. You just have to refine your focus, look closely. There is magic at your feet!

I have recommended this blog to her. It will open up a whole new world.

Jacqueline Donnelly said...

Jeff Nadler, your generous comment about my photos is heartening, indeed, considering that you are one of the finest photographers I have ever known. Thank you! Regarding the hepaticas at Ballston Creek, I did find 4 more clusters of them in addition to the ones that grow at the base of that tree. For an amazing abundance of hepatica in several glorious colors, I cross the road to the Zim Smith bike trail and walk a half mile or so to where a No Trespassing sign forbids exploring a woods. I pretend I'm a deer and can't read, at least until I take a few photos.

Woody Meristem, you are right about the amazing range of hepatica colors. I have even found some in a bright magenta! I confess to being mystified by why some years I find vivid colors and other years only white or the palest hues. Even in the same place!

threecollie, I hope you know how much I cherish your kind words, coming as they do from one who reaches the highest standards herself. I read your blog to bolster my own spirits, describing as it does the marvelous blessings and enchantments of rural life and loving family.

Kenneth Hicks and Anne Rothman-Hicks, I do thank you for stopping by and for honoring me with your kind words. Thank you!

Thank you, too, Anonymous. I am very glad you liked the post, and that you took the time to say so here.

Mary Cuffe Perez, I know that we enter the woods with the same kind of reverence, as is evidenced by your charming book, Gnarlys of the North Woods, which explores the delights and amazements to be found in nature. One of the greatest benefits of keeping this blog has been to connect me with fellow spirits like you. Thank you for helping to widen my blog's audience.

Rosalea said...

Beautiful! I live a fair bit north, Renfrew Cty. Ontario, and I watch for the plants you identify, as they,(at least a fair number of them) appear here a few weeks later. I have learned so much from your blog. I found Rose Twisted Stalk last year and was absolutely delighted, as I never knew it existed. Thank you so much!!

The Furry Gnome said...

A wonderful set of early spring wildflowers! Can't wait for them to bloom here.

Jacqueline Donnelly said...

How wonderful to greet two Canadian readers, Rosalea and Furry Gnome. Thanks for stopping by with your kind comments. I am so happy my blog can serve to whet your appetite for the flowers soon to emerge up further north. I follow wildflower postings from a friend "down south" in Ohio, and his posts alert me to what I should go looking for a couple of weeks after he does. And in the meantime, I certainly feast on his photos.

Anonymous said...

Great information. Beautiful photos. Thanks

Unknown said...

Love! Thank you, Jackie, for sharing your wealth of knowledge alongside such pretty photos.♡

Unknown said...

-Kathy Hardiman, Olean