May 27, 2014

Small Spring Flowers: Wild, Nurtured, and in Between

Although today wasn't a beautiful day––it was gray, warm, and windy––I spent a lot of time outdoors doing various tasks. One thing I wasn't doing was mowing the lawn, and as I walked around, I noticed a lot going on besides grass (though actually my lawn has very little actual grass). There are lots of small flowers blooming right now, tucked here and there, out in the open, under trees and shrubs, along walls and borders. There are masses of white violets under the lilac and spreading out into the lawn.

Where the grass is longer, a few clumps of violets are growing, looking like perfect bouquets.

The white flowers of wild strawberries brighten the ground.

Then I noticed that the tiniest of wildflowers are also blooming: the clear blue flowers, about 3/8 inch across, of what I think is a speedwell.

Near them, next to the raspberry patch, an even smaller white flower, less than 1/4 inch, with thin purple lines on its petals; they appear as a white froth in the midst of green. I don't carry a magnifying glass, so the camera helps me to see details I would miss with my eyes alone.

And I made a recent discovery: what I thought was only a woodland wildflower, bellwort, is now growing in profusion along the stone wall in the orchard. Its delicate drooping leaves are making a beautiful ground cover, now enhanced by the pendant blooms.

Not all the small flowers are wild; there are the Johnny jump ups, which began as a cultivated plant (it's hard for me to remember when I must have planted some) but now self seed all over the vegetable garden and sometimes show up in flower borders. The plastic milk jugs you see behind the flowers are protecting my newly set out tomato plants.

Another delightful self seeder are the Forget-me-nots, a tiny clear blue blossom that sings out its bright color. I never know where they'll appear next and they are always welcome.

These narcissus, Hawera, are the tiniest ones I grow, airy little flowers that seem to float on the breeze. The pale yellow cup is less than 1/2 inch wide, with the back swept petals, the flower is about 1 1/2 inches across. Each flower is very small, but when massed, they are charming.

Here are the most cultivated of all the early spring flowers I am showing, the ones that take the most work and care: blueberries. I love the forms of the flowers before they open, with their elongated and crenellated buds. Opened, they have a round shape with an upturned frill at the bottom, a fanciful design. Pollinators have to poke their way inside to get the pollen. I wonder if it is as delicious to them as the berries will be to me. Until then the flowers are an aesthetic delight, as are all the others that populate my lawn and garden.

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