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Pre-Spring Woods and Early Blooms.

March 3, 2012

Persian Speedwell

Hairy Bittercress


This year, I noticed the first blooming wildflowers in central Ohio during the last few days of February.  Of course, it all depends on both where and when you look, so I’m sure there could have been earlier blooms that I missed.  As a matter of fact, I recently went for a pre-spring hike in the woods, looking for such plants.

March is here, and spring is dawning.  I’ve spent the last few months of winter weather focusing on birds, since plant life has been rather dormant.  Now, it’s that time of year again when looking at the undergrowth is as important as looking at the treetops to observe nature’s bounty.  The growing season has begun!

Before examining those first wildflower blooms, I thought a look at the pre-spring deciduous woods was worthwhile.  Here’s how things appeared a couple weeks ago in the forested river valley area along Big Darby Creek.  I was hoping to spot an early wildflower or two.

The water of the creek had almost a turquoise color, which was interesting.  Each season, even each month seems to have a certain look to it, a combination of different factors that give a place a certain feel.

It’s true that the woods aren’t terribly green yet.  The leaf canopy is certainly going to take a while to show up, but in the undergrowth, there were signs of plants growing.  No flowers, but those will be growing soon.

Rather ironically, a week after this hike over miles of forested trails, I was walking out to my car at the apartment complex where I live when I noticed my first blooming wildflower of the year on the grassy lawn next to the curb.  There were patches of very small blue flowers surrounded by lobed leaves.  This flower was more like ground cover than anything else.

Here’s a closeup.  This is Persian Speedwell, and it would be easy to miss if you aren’t looking closely at the grass.

After seeing this flower, I looked closely in a few nearby city parks, and sure enough, I spotted some others.  Here’s a small white flower that I at first mistook for Harbinger of Spring.

This is actually Hairy Bittercress, and this too is easy to miss because it is so small and low to the ground.  Its leaves were somewhat frosty in the cold morning air.

The next wildflower I noticed was a good deal larger- this one is a classic sign of spring, and is also no stranger to gardens.  Snowdrops are a handsome early bloomer, and a sure sign that the growing season is on the way.  These were scattered at the edge of a wooded stream.

I spotted a couple other blooms- I’ll let you guess at what they are.  I know what one of them is, but we’ll be seeing more of it soon, so I’ll let the name go for now!

Soon, I’ll be starting a series of posts on spring woodland wildflowers.  The next few months will bring a fascinating variety of blooms to gaze upon.  It’s been a long winter, so get out there and see how many wildflowers you can spot!

35 Comments leave one →
  1. March 3, 2012 6:09 pm

    I won’t be able to spot any, it’s snowing here right now. Great post, looking forward to your spring wildflowers!

  2. March 3, 2012 6:32 pm

    “spring is dawning” So lovely to read, view your photos, and contemplate! I too will look forward to your new spring series.

    Here by Lake Michigan in Wisconsin, we had a snowstorm. Yet as today progressed, the sky became blue and the light was so gorgeous, as if it was saying, “Spring.”

    Thanks, as always, Ellen

  3. March 3, 2012 7:00 pm

    Looks like you’re a couple of weeks ahead of New Hampshire. I’ve seen Witch Hazel but not much else blooming yet.

  4. March 3, 2012 7:18 pm

    You are ahead of us–can’t wait!

  5. March 3, 2012 7:34 pm

    Those snowdrops are so pretty!

  6. March 3, 2012 9:09 pm

    I always love all of your woodsy shots, Tracy. 🙂

  7. March 4, 2012 5:54 am

    Beautiful pictures. There’s the same feeling in the air here, beautiful blue skies although it’s still cold at night.

  8. March 4, 2012 7:41 am

    Wonderful snowdrop photos! Looking forward to seeing the season change through the eyes of your camera!

  9. March 4, 2012 7:57 am

    You are way ahead of us … after yesterday’s snow, there is about 2 feet of the white stuff on the ground in the woods. But, I am definitely looking forward to the day I can start spotting some green signs of spring. Thanks for sharing your early signs and the names of them … love the snowdrops.

  10. March 4, 2012 9:12 am

    Wow, wonderful to see the spring flowers. I’m going to have to pay better attention once our snow cover has melted, hopefully I’ll have some surprises in store for me this week.

  11. March 4, 2012 10:52 am

    Beautiful images, Tracy. Your woods look so much like ours here in W. Pa. Flowers are emerging here too, even a few early daffodils. Your photos remind me of a favorite quote: “The flowers of late winter and early spring occupy places in our heart well out of proportion to their size.” (Wister)

  12. March 4, 2012 1:40 pm

    You gotta’ love Spring.

  13. Northern Narratives permalink
    March 4, 2012 4:09 pm

    Wow, the first green is always so exciting. Our landscape here is covered with snow 🙂

  14. March 4, 2012 10:43 pm

    It was hard to find any signs of “life” in those first few photos, still slumbering away. My cousin has mentioned having snowdrops. I’d never heard of them, they’re quite pretty. Love that little blue flower, too. Aren’t those the greatest finds, sometimes?

  15. March 5, 2012 9:37 pm

    Your plants are quite a bit ahead of ours here. We have buttercups and I just saw a crocus, but it will be weeks before any of the rest start to bloom. I sure wish we had Snowdrops here, but we don’t.

  16. March 5, 2012 10:27 pm

    Hi Watching Seasons, I love your photographs of the plants and the little pool or pond. Lovely to see. Your area looks similar to mine in TN at this time of year (other than my grassy pastures). Have a wonderful day tomorrow!

  17. March 6, 2012 9:35 am

    I’ve been cruising the woodland and yard for signs of spring too. Your photos are fabulous as always. The bright flowers against the winter hues are so magical. 🙂

  18. March 6, 2012 10:45 am

    The last picture of the yellow flower-Winter aconite(Eranthis)-did you find it growing wild or was it in a garden bed?

    • March 6, 2012 5:56 pm

      That’s it, you got it! It was in a park with some houses in the area, so I’m guessing it was an escaped ‘feral’ plant 🙂

      • March 7, 2012 8:29 am

        I asked because it’s a poisonous plant that can make you quite sick. I thought if you had it in your yard you might not realize it was poisonous.

    • March 8, 2012 12:47 pm

      Thanks for the heads up! I’ll be posting about this plant more in an upcoming post about spring flowers, as it increases in numbers this month.

  19. March 9, 2012 10:19 am

    What early spring beauty…here in Arkansas we are in flower all over the place…and it is a bit early but expected with it being further south…flowers, and bushes and trees in bloom…and lots more coming…every week something different…all wonderful…love spring…and your photos are great…from the gray of winter, up comes the green and flowers of spring…new growth and new life…great stuff, W.S….I’ll be waiting for more as the weeks go by…wow…spring is here…

    • March 10, 2012 12:06 pm

      Glad to hear that Arkansas is blooming, Jim! It’ll take a little while for Ohio to catch up to you 🙂 Thanks for the comment!

  20. March 10, 2012 7:38 am

    Hi. You have inspired me to go outside and look, but we still have lots of snow here. I like your photo of the Persian Speedwell. Jane

  21. March 10, 2012 12:07 pm

    Thanks for the great comments everyone! I didn’t realize how many visitors here still have snow on the ground at home- hopefully that won’t last too much longer!

  22. March 10, 2012 3:03 pm

    I loved your robin photos, but how wonderful to see spring wildflowers!

    I’m looking forward to seeing more. 🙂

  23. March 10, 2012 4:35 pm

    Thank you for identifying the Hairy Bittercress for me. I took some (terrible) photos of it today, with plans to look it up. Now I don’t have to. 🙂

    Beautiful images, as always.

  24. April 8, 2012 11:02 am

    How quickly things change, no?

  25. June 1, 2012 5:45 am

    Incredible photography, beautiful beautiful flowers. Thank you for sharing. Great work


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