On the Search for Spring Ephemerals

When the Earth warms just enough in New England, spring announces her return with the most dainty and sometimes illusive flowering beauties. Before leaves unfurl from the trees and before nighttime frosts are no more, our native Spring Ephemerals start to pop up through the mulch. They greet cool spring days with enthusiasm and bring me messages of encouragement. When walking through the wooded wetlands, even with some ice and snow on the land, Skunk Cabbage emerge with a startling freshness and resilience. The surprise of a bright yellow Marsh Marigold blooming against the gray cover of last season’s fallen leaves always brings me a smile. Walking through my garden, seeking signs of spring, I am always delighted when I notice the little heads of Bloodroot up and marching, eagerly advancing. Yet already in full flower, in a burst of pure enthusiasm, the Rue Anemone flutters in the breeze. And Dutchman’s Britches, one of the first Dicentra’s for the spring, hangs out its white pantaloons.

In areas that are south facing and soaking up solar energy the first of the blues and pinks call out. Here, Creeping Phlox start to create its kaleidoscope blanket and Jacob’s Ladder reach up to meet the sky with an equally beautiful blue. Violets sweet faces smile back at me.

As Spring rains soak the ground and the temperatures gain, Mayapples start to poke through the ground and twirl open their umbrella-like foliage protecting their bloom underneath. Mertensia offer their flowers out for show and perform their amazing magic trick by changing colors from pink to blue to purple. Trout Lily nod their sophisticated yellow heads en masse, as if in serious discussions. By the time the Foam Flower pokes its fuzzy bottlebrush bloom up to offer nectar to all I know Spring is officially here and Summer is on its way.

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