From Where I Sit

By Pat Spilseth, Columnist

Across the street from our home is a wooded park filled with budding wildflowers where it’s easy for wild creatures to hide. At one time we had deer, raccoons, bunnies and a red fox living somewhere in those woods where my Beagle Buddy and I took daily walks.  

Today Dutchman’s breeches and trout lily are peeking through the dusty soil; spring beauties and trout lilly are blooming; hepatica and marsh marigolds will soon emerge. Gorgeous purple scilla (Siberian Squill) is blooming profusely in sunny patches throughout the park. Careful though I try to be, it was impossible not to step on a few of these lovely blooms.  

Handsome red cardinals and their less vibrant girlfriends are flittering in the budding trees. Soon I hope to spy the prized Jack-in the pulpit plants peeking through the dried leaves scattered along the park trails. Golden dandelions (some folks think they’re only annoying colorful weeds) are popping up as the sun gets warmer each day. When I was a kid, we used to weave together dandelions into crowns for our heads when we played in the woods out by the ski chalet or the Giant Chair and Table. A lake and woods…there’s no better playground for a kid to live.

Coming home I found my “Field Guide To Wildflowers” by Peterson & McKenny to help identify the various blooming plants. The book arranges the flowers by color: white, yellow, orange, pink to red, and violet to blue flowers. There are so many that look alike that it’s hard for me to be certain of the correct identification.  

In the woods across from my house I’ll soon find patches of trilliums, whose leaves are heart-shaped with a lovely white and red flower emerging from the middle of their three leaf cluster. Showy lady-slippers remind me of Cinderella’s slipper. Lush yellow marsh marigolds overflow with moisture from their swampy environs. In past years, Jack in the pulpits and hepatica have appeared in the park by early May. This spring the flowers are late to appear. Weather has been so cold, gray and rainy. 

Sunshine and showers in April and May bathe the gardens and lawns in moisture necessary to produce spring flowers. Days can be as warm as 80 degrees, but night temperatures can dip to 30 and 40 degrees. June is the month of shortest nights. Garden scents are heavy and sweet with succulent roses blooming in red, pink and white. In my gardens soon will appear  pink and white Phlox, purple Coneflowers and the ever-present weeds, especially that rascal Creeping Charlie with its purple flowers.    

Nature is such a miracle. Isn’t it great to be alive and enjoy the changes nature brings with each season? 

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