A Lot Can Happen in a Week

We are roughly two weeks behind where we were last year, based on last year’s photographs. Everything I mention in this post was in bloom at this time last year. The weather changes so much from year to year that I cannot tell you which year is closer to normal—or if there is a normal any more.

Weather aside, I love spring ephemera and will search for them doggedly from mid-March on as long as it’s not pouring rain. They are mostly very small, so I have to actually walk away from the window, go outside, and exercise my eyes looking for changes. Changes are rapid, so there is plenty of incentive to go outside frequently.

Dutchman’s breeches, left, and twinleaf , right, erupt from the ground with flower buds. Photographed on April 3, 2022.

They look like dancers to me, unfurling gracefully. It has not reached 50° this week, but despite that, they are growing rapidly.

Dutchman’s breeches, left, and twinleaf, right, are unfurling rapidly. Photographed on April 8, 2022.

The twinleaf petals all fell off by April 9 last year—they flower for just a few days—while this year the plants have not even started turning green. As they grow, their cells will stretch, and the hidden green will show.

I could see the hepatica from my window this morning; it is sending up flower buds in fur coats. If the rabbits get too hungry, these may get eaten. The seed husks that are mixed in with the unfurling flower buds were tossed there by some exuberant purple finches. It’s been cold and they’ve been hungry.

Hepatica flower buds are becoming visible. Photographed on April 8, 2022.

The last little native I look for, rue anemone, is just peeking. I don’t know that it even counts as peeking until the flower buds peek out from their leafy hugs.

The rue anemone is just appearing. The leaf that is running from bottom left upwards to the middle of the right edge of the photograph is an elm leaf. Photographed on April 8, 2022.

Beyond these small natives, the witch hazel, which is a large shrub, is coming to the end of its blooming period, and the bluebells which are ephemeral, but not small, are also popping up in the backyard.

There are three nonnatives in bloom: daffodils, snowdrops, and scilla. The daffodils are taking their time opening.

Daffodils bloom relatively early on the south side of the house. Photographed on April 8, 2022.

The snowdrops, on the other hand, have been in bloom for a month, and are just beginning to look not-quite fresh.

Snowdrops don’t mind snow. Photographed on April 4, 2022.

They are interesting to look at. The petals are temperature sensitive. When it drops below freezing, the flowers close up even more tightly than the one’s you see in the photograph above. When it gets warm, the flowers really open.

Snowdrops enjoying a warm afternoon. Photographed on March 21, 2022.

The scilla, which was brought in by squirrels at least five years ago, is such a beautiful blue that I let it stay.

Squirrel-planted Scilla siberica. Photographed on April 8, 2022.

I really love that blue, but reading up on it, it’s invasive and will choke out natives and other better-behaved plants. I will have to dig it all out, or at least pull the flower stems and leaves off so that neither set seed nor feed their bulbs. And some Chinodoxa has reappeared too; I’m pulling it up as soon as I spot it, even if my original intent when I stepped out the door was just to get the mail!