Tuesday, April 12, 2011


"There are some who can live without wild things, and some who cannot. These essays are the delights and dilemmas of one who cannot.

"Like winds and sunsets, wild things were taken for granted until progress began to do away with them. Now we face the question of whether a still higher 'standard of living' is worth its cost in things natural, wild and free. For us of the minority, the opportunity to see geese is more important than television, and the chance to find a pasque-flower is a right as inalienable as free speech..."

Pasqueflowers always make me think of Aldo Leopold. They secured an honored place in the second paragraph of the forward to ASCA... probably the most important and influential phenological document ever, not to mention one of the 2 most "impactful" environmental works ever written (and written over 60 years ago, so it's amazing how current its themes still seem. The other impactful book, by the way, is Silent Spring, this according to the American Nature Study Society). And so to me they have special significance. With their early bloom, they remind me that spring really will win over winter. Their rarity drives home the message of Leopold's book. Their diminutive size, almost hidden among last year's litter, tells us that beauty and wonder can come in small packages.
So, yea!! My pasqueflowers are blooming. I have no idea why they are so terribly pale, but I am thrilled that they came back. I've had a terrible time with them, never getting one to come back more than once. That includes this one, as we just put it in last year. Perhaps they only live for two years, though that doesn't seem right... And they're so hard to find, this is my last effort!

Other good news: my ephemerals did, indeed, come back. At least most of them. Shown below are bloodroot, mayapple, and a trillium, all behind last year's pace but there nonetheless. Shooting stars are also well along, and wild geraniums, and spring beauties, and wild ginger, and marsh marigold (one) and bluebells. The only things that didn't return to my yard are my red baneberry and my Dutchman's breeches.
These hepatica are in my mom's yard. They are a lot happier than mine. (Actually, my one that bloomed the other day isn't looking good at all. I suspect that was it's final attempt at productivity before expiring. I have two others that look like they'll be more like this, but they haven't bloomed yet at all.) My mom also has a Dutchman's breeches about 1.5 inches tall.

Oh, and we are having a major creeping charlie problem, which we may have to fight using drastic measures or we risk losing most of the aforementioned wildflowers.

1 comment:

  1. What a powerful quote from Leopold. I am glad you had a chance to see a Pasqueflower and enjoy its "beauty and wonder."