It is official: in the Northern Hemisphere, the astronomical Spring has begun! – don’t shake your head in disbelieve. Wikipedia got it right: “The specific definition of the exact timing of “spring” varies according to local climate, cultures and customs. At the spring equinox, days are close to 12 hours long, with day length increasing as the season progresses. Spring and “springtime” refer to the season, and also to the ideas of rebirth, rejuvenation, renewal, resurrection, and re-growth.”
For me this is the Season of Ten Thousand Flowers, but like any awakening from a long sleep, it starts slow. If not observant, you can miss its sweetest moments: the first leaves peeking through the ground, the first flower to unfold, the first bumblebee. I took a few pictures on my miniature sunny rockery last Sunday and we have a race going on: which one is going to be the first to flower? My favourite in the race it is Hepatica of course…
The first sign of Spring can be usually noticed in our area in February or even early March, and is given by the Skunk cabbage: Symplocarpus foetidus (fam. Araceae). It grows along streams, and it is mostly known because of the flowers that give off heat, melting the snow around. A somehow bizarre apparition (if you don’t know what it is), it has an enormous importance in the woodland habitat, providing food and shelter for the early insects; the gigantic leaves that follow provide shelter for small mammals and food for some insects and slugs. Also the seeds are eaten by the wood ducks and Northern Bobwhites. We didn’t have time to visit our Skunk cabbage location yet; the images are from last year:
Get ready for the Season of Ten Thousand Flowers: gloves, rubber boots, camera, and all the other stuff…!!!