Sunday, April 29, 2007

Wet and Greening

Dutchman's Breeches (Dicentra cucullaria)

Yesterday it rained steadily in Lanark and the terrain of the Two Hundred Acre Woods was full of the sounds of courting birds in the overstory, hidden waterfalls and rain dripping off the trees.

We set out in early morning to traverse the place and wander the heights and valleys, booted, wearing our oilskins and entertaining wistful hopes of seeing bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis)) and trout lilies (Erythronium americanum) unfurled and blooming in the woodland, one of our markers for spring.

There were leaves of both species in abundance everywhere, but each and every bloom was closed tightly against the gloom, holding its heart safe and shuttered in readiness for a sunnier time. There were, however, Dutchman's Breeches (Dicentra cucullaria) everywhere we looked, lovely great clouds of feathery grey-green foliage annointed with sparkling raindrops, the ornate and eccentric white and yellow flowers nodding above.

This early bloomer is a creature of deciduous woodland, of gentle slopes, gorges and the fertile shelves along wandering forest streams, and its preferred native place is one which has never been harrowed or tilled. Yesterday, the most magnificent clump of the day was about twenty feet up an almost vertical rock face, and it seemed to revel in the rain and the wet.


Marcie said...

How lovely your photos are! We have a favorite woodland nook where Dutchman's Breeches bloom. This will be our day to view them. The day is sunny, our schedule quiet. It is a good day for a woodland walk. I'm glad you shared your images!

Maya's Granny said...

Lovely photos, as always. Lovely words, as well.

Marcie said...

Well, I spoke too soon! I went and looked today and found the lovely leaves, but no blossoms. There were no buds, nor spent blossoms. Perhaps Dutchman's Breeches are biennial?

Suzie Ridler said...

I agree, lovely images and words! I am so happy spring is there and look at what she is creating?!

Anonymous said...

I love Ann Linnea's Deep Passage, by the way. Thanks for all the beautiful photos and words. I feel like I am there with you sometimes walking in Lanark.

fred said...

I'm always too late for Dutchman's Breeches (or its close relative, Squirrel Corn). I seem always to find them after the little insect (wasp, bee, beetle?) has eaten its way into the nectaries at the top of each flower half and the blooms have begun to turn brown and sad.

Thanks for your success with this wonderful image, I'll share it and pretend I discovered it up along Nameless Creek before it was too late.