From our front window we can still see snow covered ground and open flowers. Recent days have begun with frost on the windshield followed by afternoon temperatures above 70 degrees. Other days featured day long light rain delivering enough moisture to pull plant growth above the remains of last season's plants. Dutch Iris have been long favored here because of their early purple colored flowers. Cold and new snow would help these plants last longer while continued bright sunshine with warm temperatures will melt these plants into a memory.
These Windflowers will soon be covered with brightly colored ray flowers placed close to the ground. Both their color and structure are more commonly seen later in the year. Like many of the early plants, these will soon leave bare ground. Small flat stones carrying their name will be placed near these plants mainly to remind the old weed puller of their location.
This Prairie Fire is an interesting mix of browned old leaves and green new growth. Depending on individual definitions of native plants, this Arizona specimen might not make the cut. We know gardeners that limit their interest to plants found naturally in a small corner of Otsego County.