"Cows are my passion. What I have ever sighed for has been to retreat to a farm and live entirely surrounded by cows–and china." Charles Dickens

March 23, 2012

Kentucky Wildflowers

One of my favorites, the Common blue violet, viola sororia, often seen along roadsides (a fall leaf above center shows scale).

We had such a strange, warm winter that I suppose it makes sense that we have had a very early spring. The redbud came out a month early and peaked in a day, it seemed, in the recent warm spell––in cooler weather, they will last for several weeks. My peach tree bloomed a month ago (so I'm not expecting peaches to sustain through any cold snaps, but you never know), the forsythia is almost spent and the Bradford pear trees, always the first bloomer, have come and gone. I saw a full bush of blooming lilacs further down the ridge today (easily three weeks early here). Our peonies have even budded and have ants crawling on the now tight, round future blossoms. A gardener in nearby Casey County is already picking asparagus and has noticed both blooms and green fruit on her strawberries!

The elusive Yellow Trout Lily (Dogtooth Violet, or Erythronium Americanum).
It was growing in a small clump of other emergent ones in a loamy creek side area.
The Trout Lily can apparently grow in established clumps over 300 years old.

A creekside bank covered with Dutchman's Breeches
with Wild Blue Phlox (Phlox Divaricata).
But what I enjoy most about our glorious (usually prolonged) Appalachian springs here in Kentucky are the many wildflowers that speckle the roadsides and woodlands. The cooler hollers and woodlands do slow down the plants but even this year the wildflowers are emerging earlier. I have a few spots where I look each year and I'm never disappointed. In fact, one such place in a creekside holler yielded several new discoveries this year: Dutchman's Breeches and the yellow Trout Lily. Both had established themselves in an area that I'd not seen them in before and that I drive past almost every day.

Dutchman's Breeches, Dicentra Cuculleria, are surely related to the Bleeding Heart.

A Kentucky woman carrying a bouquet of flowers.
© Wallace Kirkland, November 1954.
I will post more photos in the coming weeks as things emerge. Spring has sprung!

You come back when you're ready!


1 comment:

  1. Wild violets are my favorite flowers. How nice that you started this post with them.

    "Look at us, said the violets blooming at her feet, all last winter we slept in the seeming death but at the right time God awakened us, and here we are to comfort you." ~Edward Payson Rod


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