I took a walk to the grocery store during lunch, and was surprised to see several new blooms. I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised – these things are fairly predictable! Here’s some of what I saw:

Greater celandine (Chelidonium majus)

Greater celandine (Chelidonium majus)

Cherry (Prunus spp)

Cherry (Prunus spp)


I’m not sure what kind of cherry tree this is. In fact, it might even be some sort of crabapple. I really ought to learn this.

Spiderwort (Tradescantia virginiana)

Spiderwort (Tradescantia virginiana)


This spiderwort grows in a little garden by our main entrance. There was also a bit of salsify about open up, but the photos of that were not really postable.

When I got home I put on my rain gear and headed into my wood lot. Penny came along in case there were any sticks out there. I think it was raining lightly, but with rain pants and a good rain coat, it was hard to tell. Actually, I was also wearing my replacement Tilley! It came in Saturday when I was in Maine. That was a lot quicker than I was expecting, and of course, I am delighted. Here’s what I found around my yard and in the woods:

Canada mayflower (Maianthemum canadense)

Canada mayflower (Maianthemum canadense)


The other name for this is “false lily-of-the-valley.” But when I found it had a more honorable name, I adopted that instead. It’s a beauty in its own right, and I don’t think “real” lily-of-the-valley holds anything on this one.

Pink Lady Slipper (Cypripedium acaule)

Pink Lady Slipper (Cypripedium acaule)


I had to venture off my path for this shot. Pretty much all the lady slippers along the path have been mowed down. I think it was probably Penny carrying a five-foot stick in her mouth as she chased down a basketball and brought it to me. Whodathunk she could wipe out so many beautiful flowers so quickly?

Starflower (Trientalis borealis)

Starflower (Trientalis borealis)


The starflowers are in full-force now. They don’t seem to hold up to rain too well though, as it makes them all nod a bit. These two were facing up more than the rest, so I chose them to represent their species today.

Striped maple (Acer pensylvanicum)

Striped maple (Acer pensylvanicum)


All the blooms on this tree were at least seven feet off the ground. The tree has several branches on its west side that are four feet high, but none of them had any flowers. I had to hold the camera up over my head for this shot. Hard to hold it still that way, so none of the shots were very impressive. I tried to frame the shape of the leaf in the photo.

Korean spice viburnum (Viburnum carlesii)

Korean spice viburnum (Viburnum carlesii)


This is a rare thing on my property – a cultivated plant.

Quaking Aspen (Populus tremuloides)

Quaking Aspen (Populus tremuloides)


I posted some photos of these at an earlier stage of development last week. Carl Strang of Nature Inquiries correctly identified them as aspen aments (catkins). If I’d have waited another week I might have been able to figure it out on my own, but it sure is nice to have Internet friends speed things up for me. I arranged these three aments in order of development. It’s easy to see why the poplars (including aspens) are also called cottonwoods.

Azure Bluet (Houstonia caerulea)

Azure Bluet (Houstonia caerulea)


I found three tiny batches of bluets. These things grow in profusion around here in a lot of places, but they just barely hang on in my yard. These grow right under Carl’s aspen (which is what I will call that particular tree now).

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Several species of flowers made their first blooms of the year here today. I noticed five between my office and Sal’s (a pizza place) during lunch (that was about a two-minute walk through mostly paved areas). I was with people from work though, so I couldn’t just stop and take pictures. I made a couple of quick snapshots on the way back, but nothing spectacular. Here’s a list of what was blooming though:

  • Western Salsify (Tragopogon dubius)
  • Spiderwort (Tradescantia virginiana)
  • Celandine (Chelidonium majus)
  • Curly Dock (Rumex crispus)
  • Sandspurry (Spergularia)

Celandine (Chelidonium majus)

Celandine (Chelidonium majus)


Spiderwort (Tradescantia virginiana)

Spiderwort (Tradescantia virginiana)


Those were the city flowers. When I got home, there were several country flowers waiting for me. The first was some Columbine:
Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis)

Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis)


I harvested some seed from one of these last fall and sent it to my uncle, but it never came up for him. This was growing by the frog pond pretty close to the same place as last year, but not quite (it is an annual, so it depends on where the seeds land).

I went into the woods and found some False Lily-of-the-valley finally opened up:

False Lily-of-the-valley (Maianthemum canadense)

False Lily-of-the-valley (Maianthemum canadense)


I had to shade this one with my hat. The sun was blowing out the white spray of flowers, and I took several unshaded photos like that. But by the time I set the exposure quick enough for the petals to not saturate, everything else looked like the middle of the night. So I shaded the bloom and tried again with a longer exposure. It came out much better.

Again I tried taking photos of the Pink Lady’s Slipper, Starflower, and Gaywings, and even though some of them came out OK, I’m still not satisfied. They were shaking ever-so-lightly, but the afternoon in my woods are pretty shady, so that motion translated into blur. Maybe I’ll try it in the morning, I dunno.

Jonathan took his last final this morning, so his semester is finished. He’s gearing up for Brussels now, and leaves Saturday evening.

Beth came in from playing early tonight, laid down on the couch, and went to sleep. My first thought was that she must be sick, and that thought was correct. She was running a fever. I didn’t take her temperature, but I’d guess it was around 102 or so. I went to the store and bought some Ibuprofin for her.

So with Beth sick and Jonathan done with school, I’m going to have a hard time getting myself out of bed in the morning, since I’ll be commuting alone.

Mom’s still in the hospital. Dunno when she’s coming home. I do know that at least three nurses tried to insert an IV into her today, and failed three times. That must notta been too much fun for anyone involved.

Va’s Dad and his family are staying in a hotel now courtesy of the Red Cross. Their house caught on fire yesterday and it is currently uninhabitable. They get three nights, so I hope they can find new quarters soon. The house was rented, and they think it was the A/C that caught on fire. It had not been working well, and had been making unsettling noises. They called the landlord, but nothing was done. So the A/C took matters into its own hands. Or so the theory goes.