Thursday, April 4, 2013

Walk at Garbry Big Woods Sanctuary...April 3, 2013

Early Wednesday afternoon, the temperature was about 40 degrees Fahrenheit (between 4 and 5 degrees Celsius).  The wind was blowing in fits and starts but the SUN was shining.

All the way to Garbry Big Woods Sanctuary, Tom kept telling me,  "This is a waste of time.  There won't be any flowers.  It hasn't warmed up since our last snow."  He was talking about the snowstorm  that had arrived on March 24 and  dropped between 4 and 9 inches of snow (10.16 and 22.86 centimeters) on our area by the afternoon of  March 25.

But we had seen Harbinger-of-Spring at Garbry before the snowstorm so I knew it would be blooming.  As it turned out we found a lot of signs of approaching spring.

Tom found the first one...Waterleaf. ( I think this one is Hydrophyllum virginianum).  We were only a short distance into the woods.

Then he found another leaf...a Trout Lily leaf, also called Adder's Tongue or Dogtooth Violet. I don't know whether the leaf belonged to the white or yellow species.  Both are Erythronium.   Tom hadn't bothered to take his camera out of the van so I took this photo.  Every leaf counts, especially if it is a sign of spring.

Soon the trail curved  and  we started finding the Harbinger-of-Spring, also called Pepper-and-Salt (Erigenia bulbosa)...a lot more than a few weeks ago.  This is another of my photos.  I doubt that many people who are not looking for it ever see it because the entire umbel of many five-petaled flowers is only the size of a green pea, the kind we eat as a vegetable.

Tom put his scooter on speedy and was soon far ahead of me but not so far ahead that he didn't hear me when I called out, "Tom! Hepatica."  That brought him back to me in a hurry and that was when he decided to go back to the van and get his camera.  This is one of the Hepatica (Hepatica) portraits he took.  The lavender is a delicate color, hard to get with any camera so he tried several light settings before he settled on a -2 exposure because the day was extremely bright.  There are even a couple Harbinger-of-spring umbels between the Hepatica for a size comparison.  There are two Hepatica species in our area, H. americana, and H. acutiloba.  The leaves are slightly different at the tips.  I'm not good at diagnosing the difference.

Once we found the Hepatica, we looked with expectation and we were rewarded.  We saw a lot of Hepatica and Harbinger-of-spring, more Trout-lily leaves, and other things, too.

The rest of the photos in this blog are Tom's.  There was a Cut-leaf Toothwort, also called Pepperroot (Dentaria laciniata) showing buds.

And a Purple Cress (Cardamine douglassii).

Also Sessile Trillium (Trillium sessile) with  buds.  It is also known as Toad Trillium or Toadshade.  I like the idea of a small toad finding shelter under one of its three leaves.

 A bit further along the boardwalk, Tom called back to me, "Look at that Hepatica, all by itself  among the Waterleaf."

 I stooped and looked closely.  The leaves were narrow, a bit like blades of grass.  He had spotted a Spring beauty (Claytonia virginica).  If you look closely, you can see its narrow leaves on the left side of the flower.

The day was a cold and windy but we were glad we had walked.


  1. You have found some early spring flowers! Good for you!! I enjoyed all your gives me hope that eventually our snow will melt:)

  2. Wow--the flowers at Garbry are way ahead of the ones at the Falls.