Gilbert and Sullivan had it right. The season of Spring makes promises about what is to come: an end to Winter’s bitter cold and the reappearance of everything that grows.
We went for a bike ride recently to see how Spring is progressing in our part of the state. Our ride was partly on the Hockhocking Adena Bike Path and partly on roads. Along the way, we spotted blooming Colt’s Foot, Spring Beauties, Bloodroots, Dandelions, Hairy Bittercress, Gill-Over-The-Ground (or maybe lookalikes Purple Deadnettle and Henbit), Dutchman’s Breeches, Creeping Phlox, and White Trout Lillies.
Here in Athens County, we live in a great flower garden. Like any garden, it doesn’t reveal all of its majesty at once. To appreciate it fully requires visiting the garden repeatedly between now and the killing frost late in Autumn. Right now, we’re seeing just the beginning of a blooming frenzy, when many flowers display their blossoms in a mad race to get noticed by pollinators before leaves appear on the trees and cut off the sunlight. Without pollination, this year’s flowers won’t come back next year.
In the near future, perhaps by the time you read this, there will be additional blooms: Vincas, Redbuds, Winter Cress, Rue Anemones, Bluets. Blue-Eyed Marys, Dogwoods, Mayapples, Sticky Geraniums, Round Leaf Orchids, Wild Gingers, Spring Cresses, Greek Valarians, Squaw Roots, Creeping Buttercups, Mountain Mints, Leather Flowers, Bellworts, Stars of Bethlehem, Jack-in-the-Pulpits, Autumn Olives and Wild Strawberries. The hillsides above some sections of the bike path will be blanketed white with Trillium blossoms. It all happens very quickly, and, if you don’t go out for a walk or a ride, you will have to wait until next year to see it.
But, between the leafing out of the trees and Winter, there’s always something in bloom: Blackberries, Multiflora Roses, Golden Ragworts, Field Daisys, Garlic Mustards, Locust Trees, Fire Pinks, Honeysuckle Vines, Pussy Toes, Two-Flowered Cynthias, Buttonbushes, Teasels, Yarrows, Foam Flowers, Sorrels, Beardtongues, Daisy Fleabanes, Sweet Clovers, Viburnums, Queen Anne’s Lace, Liatrises, Chicory, Milkweeds, Waterleafs, Sweet Cicley, Deptford Pinks, Mulleins, Catalpa Trees, Daylillies, Ruellas, Thimbleweeds, Joe Pye Weeds, Golden Trefoils, Canada Lillies, Butterfly Weeds, Ironweeds, Jewelweeds, Goldenrods, Asters, Bergamots, Cardinal Flowers, Campions, Lobelias, Bouncing Bets, Evening Primroses, Black-Eyed Susans, Primroses, Lizard’s Tails, Knapweeds, Trumpet Vines and Cardinal Flowers.
This probably seems like just a list of names, but actually they are experiences of beauty waiting for you. Spring is the season in which our mailboxes get stuffed with seed catalogs containing their own lists of plant names. To enjoy our wildflowers, you don’t necessarily have to worry about cultivation, proper planting depth or anything like that.
The wildflowers are already in our hills and woods, waiting for you to find and enjoy them.
Jim and Celeste Parsons reside near Nelsonville and ride the back roads and bike paths on their tandem bike.