Tuesday, April 26, 2016


Springtime Underfoot & a Few Skyward Images

Flowers Abound in the Woods

It took awhile for winter to finally admit defeat.  Even a couple nights ago the temperature fell to near or at freezing, but that should all be done now.  The wildflowers are blooming, and the woods are filled with baby leaves and fern fiddle heads.  The pollen counts are high and our vehicles are  heavily dusted with yellow pollen.  It really is spring!

These pictures are mainly of springtime wildflowers, interspersed with a few other things just to spice it up a bit.  I promised at the beginning of my blogging that I would not use scientific names; they tend to put people off.  Common names, although less accurate, are friendly and comfortable for most of us.  If I use a name that seems wrong to you, let me know, but understand that common names may be used in different areas for different plants.  I have been known to make a mistake or two - LOL.


Bloodroot wildflowers are among the very first to show up and, at this point, most are done blooming.  The beautiful leaves are left to grow and nourish the seed pods.  Bloodroot depends on ants to help disperse their seeds.

Chionodoxa is sometimes called "Glory of the Snow" because it blooms so early.   It appears right about the time crocuses bloom and has this glorious, bright blue/purple color.

Rue Anemones are delicate, little wildflowers that thrive in somewhat shaded areas of the woods where sunshine breaks through.  They are mostly white, although there are pink and pinkish varieties that grow sometimes.  Note the leaves;  they look like mittens. 

A very close cousin shows it's face at the same time.   Wood Anemones are less common and have very different leaves.  The leaves are larger with defined cuts and points.  The flowers are different, too, but not as obviously different as the leaves.

Our apple tree is blooming and it's beautiful!  Fruit trees (like cheery, pear, apple, and plum) are beautiful accents to a springtime landscape. Although the flowers are soon gone, they are worth the wait.

Ajuga loves more sunshine than shade but around here it seems to grow okay with partial shade.  Both blue and pink forms grow together; these are in the lawn at a local open space park.  Another name for these pretty plants is Bugleweed.

This is a Ridged Carrion Beetle.  There are a number of different kinds of carrion beetles.  They appear on scene to help clean up the things that die.  I looked around to see why it was on this rock and I found a dead mouse.  Nature's garbage workers are often disliked, but they serve a very important function in the environment.  Actually, I think this beetle is cute:>) 

For those of you who have an ongoing war with dandelions, I ask that you pause and reflect on the benefits they bestow on us and how beautiful they are.  Young, tender dandelion greens make a delicious salad, especially when topped with Hot Bacon Dressing, a Pennsylvania Dutch delicacy.  Some people make dandelion wine; I'm not fond of it because it is so sweet.  The seed heads make wonderful toys for children who delight in sending the seeds off to start a new life (probably in your lawn, I'm sorry to say).  What is more beautiful than an emerald green lawn dotted with constellations of yellow dandelions?  If you look closely at the flower, you'll see interesting curly ques amidst the petals.  Nothing is all bad!

The Eastern Gray Squirrel population is rebuilding after being hit hard by mange.  I think two bad winters in a row did many of them in because the mange weakened them.  The squirrels now appear healthy and they are at the bird feeders again.

There are a host of names for this plant.  I love it and it grows with gay abandon in our yard.  Call it Creeping Charlie, call it Ground Ivy, or call it pesty - it is still a lovely ground cover plant.  Some people use the young, tender leaves like spinach.   I've never tried it and probably never will.  

Hairy Bittercress is also very early - a tiny, tiny flower.  They are attractive to some early butterflies like the Falcate Orange Tip and the Spring Azures.

Hepatica blooms right around the time of the Bloodroots and anemones.  The dainty purple or purple/blue flowers seem to sprout from nothing, but if you look closely you'll find three-lobed leaves laying flat on the ground that are often a brownish red color, like liver.  Thus the name.

I"m going to publish this, and I'll continue it in a day or so - so many wonderful springtime things to show you!!!

Thank you, again, for making time to read the blog.  I appreciate it and I hope you enjoy it.

Happy Spring:>)