Searching for Spring in 2018

Despite the cold, late spring, I started searching for wild flowers in late April.  The search is a rite of spring, even if there’s snow in the air and it makes no sense whatsoever.

The flower buds of willow shrubs were on hold (April 27),

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As were the new shoots of False Hellebore after a freezing rain (April 29).

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Desperate for color in a wintry April landscape, I detoured to the edge of a wetland and discovered a reliable indicator of the advancing season: Skunk Cabbage (April 29).

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Finally, the weather took a serious turn for the better. The season of renewal erupted, with April events spilling over into early May. Migrating birds, black flies, wildflowers, baby animals, mud…..Spring!

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Bloodroot

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A Rails-to-Trails recreation path, with willow shrubs in bloom (May 5)

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The early blooms of willow shrubs (May 3), a lifeline for hungry bees

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Marsh Marigold (May 5)

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A tumbling brook, swollen by melting snow and frequent rain (May 5)

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White Trillium (May 5)

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Red Trillium (May 5)

Photos by NB Hunter. © All Rights Reserved.

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Wildflower Favorites

Early spring wildflowers, the spring ephemerals, are vivid reminders of the fragile beauty and existence of life on earth. They tease and please with spectacular, short-lived blooms. They always leave us wanting more, and we’re quite willing to wait another year for another show. It never gets old.

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Serviceberry (Amelanchier), a small flowering tree

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Marsh Marigold in the wet soil along a small stream

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White Trillium, a woodland wildflower favoring rich, moist soils (1 of 2)

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Red Trillium in filtered light on a rich woodland site

Photos by NB Hunter. © All Rights Reserved.

Mid May 2016

This past week saw the rapid expansion and growth of Sugar Maple foliage,

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The fading of some early spring wildflowers,

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Marsh Marigold

And the fresh blooms of new arrivals in the sequence of bloom,

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Painted Trillium, the last of the 3 native trilliums to bloom

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Wild Apple tree

Plants within a species don’t bloom simultaneously, an adaptation that helps avoid catastrophic losses due to environmental extremes. There is a frost warning for tonight, but only 10 – 20% of the wild apple trees have started to bloom. Hoping we get through this with plenty of blossoms …and apples… to enjoy!

Photos by NB Hunter. © All Rights Reserved.

A Back-lit Day

The better part of my Mother’s Day walks were spent looking into the sun, sometimes by design, but often due to circumstances beyond my control. Needless to say, the effects were transformative and the experience enlightening!!!

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Red Squirrel (hiding from me)

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Marsh Marigold

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Warbler (foraging for insects on the new foliage of Sugar Maple)

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Marsh Marigold

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Birch tree and clouds in evening sun

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Red Trillium

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Black Willow trees (light green color) in a wetland

Photos by NB Hunter. © All Rights Reserved.

Early Spring Wildflowers – Marsh Marigold

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Marsh Marigold (Caltha palustris), a member of the buttercup family, is a familiar sign of spring, blanketing wet places with clumps of bright yellow flowers. Now in full bloom, it can be found along streams, in marshes, on the borders of wet, roadside ditches and similar places. If you get your hiking boots covered in wet muck soil, perhaps see a frog or two, you’re in marigold habitat.

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Marsh Marigolds in full bloom along a small stream

Small, round flower buds produce flowers with vivid yellow sepals (not petals).

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The nectar of early spring flowers is a critical food source for bees, flies and other insects. Marsh Marigolds are especially important in this regard due to their abundance and profuse blooming habit.

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All photos by NB Hunter.