Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Irma's Woods

Across the river valley from us rises a high south facing bedrock ridge.  Numerous small spring fed seasonal streams make their way among the rocks and trees creating a habitat that is very different from our dry woods.  We frequently take a break from spring garden work to see the wild flowers that grow here in great numbers.  All of the land along both sides of the road is posted so our pictures are taken from the roadside ditch.

One section of woods particularly rich with wildflowers was owned by a former teacher that plied her craft in the same school as I.  She taught history while I taught mathematics.  Her health had failed when we first discovered her woods so we were never able to walk with her in these woods.  Still, I remember her each spring when viewing her flowers.

Sharp-lobed Hepatica (Hepatica acutiloba) are the earliest flowers that bloom here.  The flowers push above the leaf litter more easily than the low liver colored leaves.  Soil near neutral in pH is required so we have never acquired this plant.  If time permits perhaps a section of our shade garden could be filled with forest soil taken from under our maple trees.  Then we might be able to grow this plant.

Mixed among the road gravel scrapings pushed up by the snow plow are colt's foot plants.  I once moved some of this common ditch weed into a garden.  Given care it quickly claimed for itself a rather large section of garden.  Now I am content to admire this plant where it grows.  One name for this plant is son before father referring to flowers first, leaves later, growth habit.  This was our first trip to visit Irma's wood's this spring, but it won't be our last.  These earliest of flowers will soon be joined by others.   It would be a shame to miss seeing them.

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