A Sign of Spring
Fire pinks are not dependent upon fertile soil and can often seen growing within sight of the road
After a long, cold winter, nothing is more refreshing and invigorating than stepping out on an early spring morning to mild temperatures and the melodic sounds of songbirds saturating the air.
The sight of early blooming flowers painting the beds deems the morning that much more glorious, and as the month progresses, more species of plants will emerge from the cultivated soil, painting a beautiful palette of colors.
Although I suspect many will cringe at this statement, there’s something to be said for not having a well-maintained and manicured yard during the beginning of spring, as an array of small, yet showy, colonies of wildflowers often thrive.
To many, these small flowers are one of the first indications that warmer temperatures are just around the corner. Granted, their displays are beautiful and a sure indication of good things to come. And those who stray a little farther from home will certainly have the opportunity to see a plethora of wildflowers species making a stand during the next few months.
As an outdoor photographer, occasions where I’ve happened upon various blooms have been plentiful. However, a few species appear as elusive as a wary gobbler. In fact, locating one wild orchid, in particular (showy ladies-slipper) was a six-year quest.
Of course, each and every wildflower enthusiast shares varying opinions, but I consider bloodroots one of the most impressive wild species blooming during early spring. Making a showing from now through the first couple weeks of April, each plant blooms only one day. Fortunately, every plant in a colony doesn’t bloom on the exact same day, lending to a larger window of time for folks to locate and enjoy them.
Although not much more than one inch in diameter, they are easily spotted as the petals are a brilliant white, and their filaments a vibrant yellow.These plants thrive under the shade of a hardwood canopy and take root in rich soil and often along streams.
Often blooming near or amongst this particular plant, when it comes to beauty, yellow dog-toothed violets take a back seat to no plant. dangling from a frail stem, the yellow flowers contrast with the plant’s green, waxy, basal leaves
As the bloodroot’s and yellow dog-tooth violet’s blooming period draws near its end, that’s a cue the purple trillium will soon be making her showing. Even during pre-bloom, these plants are impressive, with three petioled leaves that are mottled with dark shades of green,
The plant is pleasing to the eye, but the bloom — it’s spectacular. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 1.5 inches in height, the flower is often a deep maroon. However, the color phases sometimes vary.Trilliums seem to prefer the
same environment as do bloodroots.
With the month of April also comes the hunt for dwarf larkspurs, the earliest blooming native subspecies of the Delphinium genus. Attached to a stalk, the flowers are most interesting looking, as they’re somewhat tubular. Connected to a stalk they range from white to deep purple.
Earlier in the article, I suggest the bloodroot was “one of ” the most impressive wildflower species blooming during early spring.” well, let’s talk about my all-time favorite - the yellow ladies-slipper.This beautiful wild orchid makes its showing during the first part of April.
Dangling from a stalk, her rich yellow flower is often referred to as being shaped like a boot. However, it reminds me of a Danish clog. Regardless of what it brings to mind, I suspect we can all agree that impressive is an understatement.
Although fairly elusive, this species is common throughout the Ouachitas; the key is knowing where to look. Yellow lady’s-slippers are partial to hardwood forests.They also seem to gravitate toward damp areas. I have located colonies in close proximity of creeks and bogs on several occasions.
Don’t expect to find a yellow lady’s slipper during every outing. But when you do, be sure and log their location on a GPS as they’ll be there year after year, unless the habitat is