Thursday, March 18, 2010

Springtime "blues"!

Sometimes the "blues" are not a bad thing! Today I had a good case of the blues --- a blue sky was seen for the first time in days and lots of blue wildflowers were blooming in the yard! :) The Birdseye Speedwell (Veronica persica) is blooming so profusely in some areas, it looks like puddles of water reflecting the sky! I found this plant blooming in the soccer field near my house (right). Not far off was another kind of speedwell, Ivy-leaf Speedwell (Veronica hederaefolia), it has more lavender-hued flowers (left). When I was a child, I was fascinated by the pretty flowers of Vinca (Vinca minor) that grew in the woods near my house (right). So, when I moved into this house, I transplanted some from my old neighborhood in Nashville. Big mistake!!! It is an evergreen ground cover that can take over very quickly. I have to pull a lot of it up every year to keep it under control. It does have interesting flowers if you look at the center very closely. The 1-1/2" tall Small Bluets (Hedyotis crassifolia) are very easy to overlook (below). They bloom much earlier than the taller and more blue Quaker Ladies Bluets.
There is an old cemetery down the street. It is a fascinating place to do photography. I enjoy seeing the various lichens on the headstones. This yellow one, called Lemon Lichen (Candelaria concolor) is interesting to look at through my macro lens. I love doing macro photography, it really makes me pay much closer attention to tiny details. The moss spore caps are a good example (right).

As I was walking back to the house some other tiny white flowers caught my eye. These plants were only about 2" tall, I'm sure they are often stepped on and never even noticed! In warmer years, Whitlow Grass (Draba verna) often blooms in late February (left). Like many other plants in the Mustard Family, the flowers start making fruits even before the petals have fallen off the flowers. I was surprised to see another species, Shortpod Whitlow Grass (Draba brachycarpa) blooming nearby (right). Like its "cousin," it too was only a couple of inches tall. It had clusters of much smaller flowers. I was excited to learn this was a new flower for my life-list! :) It is #2427 and my first new wildflower for 2010! I've lived in this neighborhood 29 years so I'm amazed I have never seen it before. That is what I love about exploring nature!

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