Friday, March 30, 2012

Spring is Here - Come Take a Walk With Me!

 Hellebores are one of the earliest flowers to greet you in the very early spring.
Here in NJ there are few woodland flowers that are evergreen.  This year we are having record blooms!
They are also known as Christmas Rose or Lenten Rose because of their resemblance of a wild rose and they often bloom around Lent. Deer won't touch the Many of the Hellebores are toxic if ingested. 
I think spring IS finally here!
 If you read my earlier post on Groundhogs day, I think
 Long Island's Groundhog 'Chuck' had the winning prediction - spring is here!

 My woodland path is beginning to wake up from this mild winter 
and becoming alive with spring flowers! I get so excited each spring when I can finally go outside and be surprised each day by another emerging plant, or even better---a flower!

Spring Beauties are ephemerals that bloom in the spring and then die back by the summer.
 Mine are in full bloom along my path. Sensitive to light conditions, Spring Beauties
will close up their flowers on a cloudy day and at night, then cheerfully open up
for you on a sunny day!
With camera in hand and sometimes my coffee too,
 I love to go out each day and take pictures of the nature that surrounds me. In the spring, my woods are filled with ephemerals (wondering how to pronounce that? i-ˈfem-rəls) which are plants that grow, flower, and die in a few days.

Many of the plants I'm sharing with you today are ephemerals. (Spring Beauties, Dutchman's Breeches,
Glories of the Snow, Winter Aconite, and Bloodroot)

 Dutchman's Breeches are another spring ephemeral woodland plant that has striking
white flowers that look like little britches turned upside down! One of my favorites! 
Soon Violets and Trilliums will be replacing these unique flowers as they die back until next spring!

These beautiful purple/blue Sharp Lobed Hepaticas
and the white Round lobed Hepaticas (below) grow to about 4"-6" ht.
Butterflies, moths, bees, and beetles are some of the known pollinators. 


These are the white Round Lobed Hepaticas.
 Both Hepaticas grow in nice little clumps and flower before their
 new leaves emerge from the ground. They retain many of their leaves
 through out the winter and are quickly replaced
as the new foliage unfolds.

Unfortunately, this winter we had to take down one of my favorite trees. It was an amazing Tulip Tree that was estimated to be 135' to 150' tall! Needless to say, we got a lot of wood and mulch from this beloved tree!

 Our Tulip Tree that had been taken down.

 We were able to replenish the mulch on our entire woodland path! Being so early in the season, we decided to bring in several truck loads of shredded mulch from our local recycling center to cover all the plant beds around our house and along the path! Our woods never looked so good in February.

Our newly mulched woodland path. 

Now its toward the end of March and each day I'm surprised with new plants popping through all that luscious dark brown mulch!

 This is a little sitting area along our path. The bench sits between two very large black
walnut trees.. The blue Glories of the Snow and white Dutchman's Breeches surround the rock.
  When they die back later in the spring, Sweet Woodruff, Trilliums and Bleeding Hearts
will take over.
 Glory of the Snow - Beautiful blue flowering spring bulbs that have naturalized
through out my yard and woods. They create a beautiful blue carpet of flowers
 right after my white Snowdrops are finished blooming.

 Winter Aconite -  Cute little yellow flowers that grow 1-2".
 They are will die back once the tree canopy gets dense by late spring.
All parts of this plant are poisonous.

 Bloodroot - Amazing little woodland plants that have beautiful white
 daisy like flowers. I love the way their one large leaf wraps around their stems
 while they are in flower, and then unfurl once the flower fades..
. They get their name because they store sap in an orange red rhizome
 below the soil. Eventually they will grow into large colonies!

I have been adding to this woodland path for about 26 years now.
 It has been a real labor of love! Not everyone weeds their woods (twice a year) so these native gems can grow and thrive! Most have been purchased from places that have propagated them from seed - and not collected from the wild. When starting these plants from seeds it can take YEARS before I will get a flower! But it is so worth it when I finally look down and see that very first bloom! There is just something so enchanting about a wildflower.....I've been in love with them since I was a child!

I hope you enjoyed our first walk and become a wildflower enthusiast too! I'd love to hear about your plants, any questions I can help you with, or just say hi!

My woodland path walks will be on Wednesdays! I hope you can join me! :-)


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Surprise!! They Grow Up SO Fast!

My daughter is the youngest of my three children. 
 Just recently she got her drivers license! As I sat in the motor vehicle parking lot watching her drive off to take her driving test,  I wasn't quite sure why I had such butterflies in my stomach, I've been through this twice before and knew she was a great driver! But as I had time to reflect, I realized, it was because she is my baby....and this will be the last time she will be totally dependent on my husband and I for a ride! Getting her license is just one more step toward independence and one step closer for us to becoming empty nesters like most of our friends!!

However, when she came running over to my car with a giant smile and waving a piece of paper, I couldn't help but be so happy for her! It didn't seem that long ago I did the same thing with my mother!! 

Several days later, after looking at many different used cars, my patient husband finally found the perfect car to surprise her with!
As she got off the school bus I couldn't wait for her to walk up the driveway! After pausing at the mail box, she looked up and saw this car sitting in the driveway! Yeah! She was shocked and gave the car a big hug... then I got one too! Her Dad was at work, but I got it all on film --I'm surprised I even remembered to turn it on, but even if I did forget,  it will be forever etched in my mind!

I won't really miss driving her everywhere, but I will miss all the times we spent together driving to her activities, talking, and sharing those special moments!

Tracey :-)