Thursday, April 21, 2011

Spring everywhere

After this winter we can't get spring fast enough. Even now it still feels painfully slow when temperatures creep low at night and we have cold and windy days. The prognosis for the weekend is solid rain.
Still, spring is on its way, and today I went to a Botany class at one of my favorite places in this world: New England Wildflower Society's Garden in the Woods, to see for myself. The class is a series of 5, aiming at identifying wildflowers using Newcomb's guide. I've had the book for quite a while but never done any serious ID-ing with it - it can be so intimidating. But one of these days I will have to brave it, take it with me on a walk and see what I find.
Today we had an instructor to help us, so it was easily determined which Hepatica that was Round-lobed and which was not. The round-lobed proved to be a sweet encounter since it is the one that we in Sweden call BlÄsippa, one of our most treasured spring harbingers.

Here is the sharp-lobed. And the names refer to the leaves, not the flowers. I was so happy to see the flowers that I didn't remember to photograph the actual leaves.
We also saw the little Dutchman's Breeches. 

Virginia Bluebell was a new one for me - not quite blooming yet.

Bloodroot was starting to show, both flower and leaf.

The flowers we looked at today are called Spring Ephemerals. They grow on the forest floor and take advantage of the short window of time after the snow has gone and before the trees leaf out and block the light. At this time of the year they have the sun rays to themselves and they quickly set bloom, leaf and seed before they're hidden in the shade again, where they go dormant until next spring.

Hobblebush is about to bloom. I will be sure to check on it by next week's class. Of course, Hobblebush is a shrub, not a wildflower, but its bloom time coincided so well with my class that it got included anyway.

Yellow Troutlily

And Mayapple leafing out, not yet in flower. It looks like a small palmtree.

A new one for me was this Oconee-bell. Very pretty as it spread on the ground.

Whip-poor-will flower! Trillium cuneatum. Truly unique.

Pennsylvania Sedge - beautiful up close.

Ferns unfurling.

Even at home I have spring beauty around me. This tree in my neighbor's yard have this gorgeous red leaves that will eventually turn green.

And since I still stock my bird feeders there are some newcomers. A flock of these adorable little Chipping sparrows have returned safely from their winter residence. 

This grackle male is trying to impress a lady in the next tree

this Norway Maple, which really has beautiful flower clusters, even though it's a really bad invasive.

 In my backyard I am growing my own little woodland garden.
I planted some Dicentra - Wild Bleeding heart, hoping they will spread under the lilac bushes.

I am also preparing for another migrant who is expected to return any day now. The Ruby-throated hummingbird usually comes back to Massachusetts in April, and I planted these especially for the hummers:
 Wild Columbine, a favorite for early hummer birds.


  1. Your purple hepaticas are simply stunning! I'm planning to visit that wildflower garden in early June, when there will be quite a different cast of characters, so it's lovely to see what's blooming now.

  2. you will love it! It's amazing at any time of the year.

  3. Asa, I had no idea you have been writing more blogs ... b/c when I click onto your site, the same one always comes up (the first one, at the top of this page). Is there anyway to have your new posts at the top of the page instead of the bottom? Otherwise I don't know where your most recent one is ...

    Anyway, your photos are amazing! You have such an eye for natural beauty