Avalus has been seeing Spiders and he’s sharing with us. (The photos are below the fold)
Things change so quickly in the forest at this time of year. Today we found very few trilliums and those that remain have turned the pretty pink of fading glory. Also disappearing are the Jack-in-the-pulpits and I’ll miss them the most. Taking their place are the shy flowers of mayapples and small patches of buttercups and forget-me-nots. The false Solomon’s seal is also in bloom and hundreds of baby trees have sprouted up across the forest floor. The biggest change we saw today was in the quality and quantity of light. The canopy is nearly full and the bare, bright light of winter and early spring has vanished into dappled pools and deep shade. The quality of sound has also changed under the fullness of leaves and the forest is entirely more intimate and inviting.
My grandmother loved flowers and my grandfather adored my grandmother and so he kept a large mixed flower garden where something was blooming from earliest spring until latest fall. Every few days he would tour the garden and cut the finest blooms for my Oma who kept them in an indigo blue vase beside her reading chair. First would come tulips and hyacinths, then branches of apple, cherry and plum blossoms. Soon lilac would follow in fragrant shades of deep purple and white and then finally, finally, the peonies would bloom. They were my Oma’s favourite flower and their yearly appearance was an anticipated event.
I’ve always wanted to grow peonies, but it’s one of those things I never quite got around to. We have a small yard and a large patio and we just didn’t have space. Then, one of our trees died. It was a white lilac tree (not a lilac bush) that had never done well and suddenly I had an open space big enough for peonies. A friend who helps me with my garden found 2 peony shrubs and last year we planted them in early June. They struggled and straggled along over the summer and fall and I wasn’t sure I’d get blooms this year, but about 2 weeks ago buds appeared, three on the pink bush and one on the purple bush. I’ve been filled with anticipation waiting for them to open and yesterday when the sun finally appeared all three pink flowers opened at once and they’re glorious.
Much like leaves in autumn, white trilliums put on a bit of a show before they disappear, turning delicate shades of pink as they begin to wither. Their passing marks the end of the showy spring flowers in the forest. The mayapples are still to bloom, but their flowers hide under big umbrella leaves and are barely seen. The buttercups and forget-me-nots that linger are small and fragile and just don’t command the same attention as a trillium or bloodroot or Jack-in-the-pulpits. The forest is losing its frills.
It’s that wonderful time of month when Nightjar shares her photo essay about the conditions of light.
I confess that I haven’t been as inspired lately, and that’s in part because light is becoming too bright and harsh for my taste already. I find autumn’s golden light and winter’s low and cool light so much more interesting to work with. But May is the month of flowers and bugs, and you can never go wrong with a random assortment of flowers and bugs under May sunlight, right?
We have something special from Nightjar today.
Remember this (https://freethoughtblogs.com/affinity/2019/01/16/surrounded-by-rocks-an-exploration-series-chapter-5/) when I said that visiting that limestone hill during Spring would be more interesting because of all the wild orchids? Well, this month I did just that and managed to find 4 species of wild orchids! The Bee and Yellow Bee orchids I found mostly on my way up, while the Pyramidal and Mirror orchids were everywhere at the roadside verges around the hill. I was thrilled to find so many Mirror orchids this year, they are among my favourite wild flowers just because of how glossy and shiny they are. Mirror orchids are pollinated exclusively by a single species of solitary wasp and I love how far their mimicry goes, eyes and everything!
Jack-in-the-pulpits are one of my favourite spring flowers and they won’t be around for much longer so I’m sharing while I still can. This has been an excellent year for them in our wee forest. They’re literally all over and many of them have grown to be a foot tall or more. Obviously, they like this year’s wet and dreary type of spring much more than I do.
The day started out rainy, but by noon the sun was shining in an azure blue sky and the day was warm and inviting. Jack and I took ourselves off to the woods and we had a lovely, slow stroll whilst chatting about this and that and listening to the birds sing. We marveled at how quickly things change at this time of year. The white trilliums are still blooming, but the red ones have vanished and so have the happy white flowers of bloodroot. Other things are growing madly. The mayapples have become umbrellas and they’re full of buds. The false Solomon’s Seal is in bud, too, and leaves of many kinds are sprouting up along the entire forest floor. Jack took extra care to sprinkle pee where it was needed the most and by the time we’d gone all the way around his tank was empty and he was doing the air-pee. All in all a brilliant day.
Jack and I have been avoiding the park for the past few days because the city was hosting a fair to celebrate the May 2-4 long weekend and Jack doesn’t like fairs. He’s too short to see much except a sea of legs and he doesn’t like the blaring noise of the carnival rides or the sudden screams they elicit. The worst part, though, is all the smells of food that no-one offers him.
The carnival was still packing up when we were there this morning so we wandered through what remained of the midway and Jack had a good chance to safely explore the what of it all. After that we went to visit the tulips and strolled around the duck pond. The lingering smells of fried food made our route a bit circuitous because Jack had to visit every garbage can along the way, but the sun was warm and the birds were singing and I didn’t mind at all.
The canopy of the forest is filling in quickly and soon all the light that’s been fueling the growth of spring flowers will turn to shade or bits of dappled sunlight. The trilliums are still blooming madly, though, and we even found a few red trilliums still hanging on. The Jack-in-the-pulpits have sprouted up all over and I can’t recall a year that there have been so many of them. They’re everywhere and some of them are huge. It seemed to take forever for spring to arrive this year, but the woodland flowers are obviously very happy with the conditions.