Field of Science

Friday Fabulous Flower - early bloomers, but very cheerful

 Here is another harbinger of spring.  The Phactors have many dozens of bulbs in our gardens, many of them varieties of Narcissus, and most of these are fairly good at needing fairly little attention.  Some have the yellow perianth and corona that we would call "daffodils", but others are more exotic with orange colored flower parts that are not necessarily in evenly spaced whorls.  

Hello, spring

 Nothing quite says spring more than crocus.  They just barely peak above ground and up shoots a flower. For whatever reason the earliest crocus are always gold colored.  This makes them extra showy, except bees can't see this color like they can the white, striped, or lavender colored flowers.  This clump of volunteers decided to grow under  European beech tree.  It's a nice contrast the splash of color among the leaves and against the bark.  It flowered earlier than the FFF snow trillium but it isn't a native wild flower.  

Friday Fabulous Flower - Earliest wild flower


This little beauty is often missed because it blooms so early, March 16 this year.  This is Trillium nivale, often called the snow trillium.  The small scale was added to show how big this flower is.  Tucked in among leaf litter it must stand some 7-8 cm tall and the flowers are some 5-6 cm side.  Each flower sits a top a whorl of three oval leaves.  This is one of earliest native wood land wildffowers of this area.  TPP found this species in a woodland park much to everyone's surprise.

Last gasp of winter - snow

This time of year the upper midwest is subject to warring weather fronts generally from the south west and the northwest.  The latter tend to bring drier but colder weather, while the former bring in moisture, which falls depending upon the temperature as either a liquid or a solid or a wintery blend of both.  These tend to form long narrow weather tracks that can hit or miss us depending upon just where the track is.  This year has been rather snowy, and last night we got probably 3 inches that will melt very soon as warmer air replaces the colder.  A colleague new to these parts commented on the changeable weather and how sad it was that all their shoots got snowed on.  Snow is a great insulator and spring shoots do very well beneath a blanket of snow.  TPP worries more about shrubs and trees buds getting their tips frozen if the temperature gets too cold.  People are already asking about tomato and chili peppers plants and even a minimal freeze with kill these tropical plants.  Stick with the mustard family, the coleworts, and lettuces and other cold weather greens for at least another month unless you use something to cover them as they grow.  The good old boys used to say if your peas didn't get snowed on they weren't planted early enough. Of course our friends that moved to the "upper peninsula" can only dream of spring.  

Friday Fabulous FLower - Spring has sprung

 Spring has sprung but winter isn't over yet.  Signs of spring: earliet bulbs in flower like snow drops and winter aconite open in sunny places, mallard ducks return to lily pond like clock work (Mar 1st), and of course the FFF in flower, two varieties of witch hazel, Arnold's promise and DIane (orange-reddish frs). Very, very cheerful.