Monday, April 19, 2021

Back To Irma's Woods

The need to explore these woods is made obvious by this photo.  A tree trunk, wild leeks, hepaticas in bloom and unfurling trillium leaves in the foreground and the promise of more in the background creates a strong desire to explore this land.  We can only imagine the promise of beauty likely to be found further up the hill.  Passersby have yet to be seen while walking on this dirt road but still that is where we stay.

This brown growth is something that we have never seen before either in person or in a book.  If we hit a day with little to do, a search might be made to try and identify this splat.  We find this on each visit here but have yet to notice any change at this busy for plants time of year.  It is growing on a moss covered rock rather than a piece of a long ago fallen tree.

Hepatica have been the star of the early show.  This cluster of many white flowers is unusual because of their closeness to each other while spread along a line.  Two of the blossoms have dropped their colored petals revealing their three green backings.  Seeds may be forming in the dangling white dots in the center.  What really caught our eye is the cluster of three connected larger leaves marking an early appearance of a Trillium.  A second plant is seen under the upper one.  A third is at the right edge of the picture.  A massive past display of white Trillium flowers is what first caught our eyes here.   It is somewhat impressive that we have finally noticed just how many more plants are also growing here.

Spring Beauties are a personal favorite because they connect me to my maternal grandmother. She may have used that name when showing off her violets but seeing this wild flower always brings back pleasant memories of her.  In many ways she introduced me to the wonder of plants.  Most of my past attempts to get a decent photo of these beautiful blossoms have been disappointing with the lines of color largely invisible.  Somehow today was the day to capture a complete and accurate picture of these tremendous flowers.

 This is just a small corner of a huge collection of Spring Beauties growing on the top of a large flat detached chunk of the bedrock ridge. Spring Beauty leaves, pointy and narrow, are easily seen in this photo.  This surface is above the soil level of the forest floor.  Here a thin layer of rotted vegetation enriched with the minerals dissolved from the rock supply nutrients to these plants.  Yesterday, carefully working among our garden plants reopened a leg scrape resulting in wisdom demanding that a light day would move it toward healing.  Part of this down time was spent next to plants that require no human intervention.  It was a day well spent. 

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Early Arbutus Flowers

Several years ago four small Arbutus plants were transplanted here.  The following Spring a woodchuck ate one of the plants down to the ground.  The wire cage placed inside of a low stone wall was the result.  The stones make it impossible for a critter to simply push the cage aside and with protection and care these native treasures have prospered.  The tree trunk visible in the photo is a White Pine since rotting pine needles created the acid soil required for Arbutus growth.  Fallen Oak leaves also create acid soil but the covering from these sizeable leaves can smother and kill Arbutus leaves.  Recent skin scrapes have prevented me from kneeling on the ground to date so the Oak leaves remain.  For now these Arbutus are truly wild native plants and some death is natural.

 This Spring has been nearly totally lacking rain.  Recently we had a two day rain event that resulted in nearly one inch of gentle rain spread across two days.  Previously we had a single day of light drizzle.  With these early drought conditions the plants have widely responded to moisture.  The common name May Flower has been earlier been used to identify these plants but here we are just short of mid April and we have flowers.