Watching for More Spring

 

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Dateline: Hidden Lake Garden, M-50 in southern Michigan.

There was no mistaking that we were still in an early spring woods, but our spirits were full of anticipation, fueled by glimpses of the ethereal haze of pale green or red buds on the occasional tree in the distance. It was warmer this week – I was comfortable in crop pants and a short-sleeved tee.

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There were more daffodils out this week, especially in the woodland areas – but we saw large beds in the meadows that were still all green. Maybe they will be out in the next couple of weeks.

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Spring Beauty – Claytonia Virginica

Julie & I talked about how fragile the early spring wildflowers seem – but then realized that they are really tough to survive the unpredictable transition from winter to spring. In my early career as a mental health therapist and even as a professor and mentor to college students, I met so many people who seemed fragile, who came from less than nurturing environments but were making it. They had the same beauty and toughness as the early spring wildflowers. It was so rewarding for me to watch them as they bloomed – in all their glory.

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Yellow Trout Lily – Erythronium Americanum

Now, many years later, I was thoroughly enjoying my camera time, working from different heights and angles, with different setting, working to capture the delicate beauty of these early wildflowers. Our first stop is at the hosta garden that slopes down a steep hill to the Hidden Lake. A few hostas are just beginning to push through the ground. They are all marked with black tags as wildflowers and summer bulbs are allowed to grow and bloom before the hostas spread their leaves to cover the ground.

The garden also has a vast area of woodlands where the natural ecosystem is allowed to run its course, with hiking trails and a single lane drive. There isn’t much traffic during the week in early spring so we stop frequently to admire and photograph the flowers flourishing in the sun – before the trees leaf out making a shady canopy.

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Vinca/Myrtle

I was excited to see a few Vinca blossoms because the floor of this woods sloping up above these stone walls is covered with Vinca and in a couple of weeks should be covered in blue.

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We found large patches of wildflowers growing along the road where the trees thin out close to the upland meadow. These blue ones captivated me and I took several photos trying to capture how I experienced this patch through the integration of eye and heart.

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I couldn’t find them in my reference books, nor could I find a useful on-line flower identification site – but I’m sure one (or more) of my readers will be able to tell me their name(s).

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Here are two more wildflowers we found at stops along the drive through the wooded areas. They are very familiar, in fact the blue one has found its way into my front garden bringing a bit of early spring serendipity and color into a garden I am trying to keep under control. But I can’t recall ever knowing their names and my reference books haven’t been any help.

We received a couple days of rain and spring is really popping in our neighborhood so I’m looking forward to returning again to this woodland garden.

14 Comments »

  1. The flower in your final picture is Siberian squill. It’s a non-native species from Siberia that has naturalized and is considered invasive in some areas due to its ability to form dense colonies and take over areas. It’s not officially classified as an invasive here yet, and the UW Horticulture and WI Master Gardner pages still discuss planting tips, but I think it’s just a matter of time before it makes the list.

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    • Thanks for your help. How interesting – and I now remember identifying that name at some time – but not when I needed.

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      • I first learned of Siberian squill while working doing an internship at a nature center just last week. They told me it was invasive there (at least, they consider it invasive, as it has invaded their woodland area) and I said that was an invasive I hadn’t yet encountered; while my site so far has focused on wildflowers, my primary focus has been on invasive species control and education. A couple days later I saw it in the annex of the local library, where it had taken over the entire lawn! It’s just funny that I recently learned about it, and now I see it everywhere.

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