A Walk in the Park

It’s May, and I’m looking forward to the colorful blooms that open during this spring month. The Bluebells have already reached their peak bloom; the Daffodils have come and gone, and so have most of the Tulips. Likewise have the Cherry blossoms.

Our Rhododendrons and Azaleas are the big show-stoppers right now. Next in line will be Peonies and Wisteria. The sun is warmer and the days are getting longer. I love watching the march of the spring blossoms! Even the local park pond life is enjoying the warm rays of the sun!

Tiny Daisies

Yellow Magnolia blossom

White Ornithogalum and Heuchera leaves

Candelabra Primula

Camas
Bluebells
Poppy

Rhododendron buds
Rhododendrons

Pond turtles on a rock

Pond turtles and their reflection

All images property of Peggy A Thompson

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Spring Awakenings in the Woods

Springtime is an amazing time to go walking in the woods. And what a fantastic opportunity for nature photographers to capture images of plants that bloom only during this time of the year! As well, it’s fascinating to find young ferns just starting to unfurl from their fiddlehead forms. Below are a few images of forest and woodland plants I have encountered in various garden forest settings, recently.

Yellow Epimedium
White Epimedium
Pink Trillium
Wood Peony
Wood Anemone
Forget-Me-Nots
Fern Fiddleheads
Ypsilandra
Sessile Trillium

All images property of Peggy A Thompson

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Spring Awakenings

Every year I seem to encounter new species of plants I’ve never seen or, perhaps, have never noticed before, particularly in the spring. If one is lucky enough to encounter the very beginnings of plants and flowers when first emerging from their winter hibernation, magnificent spectacles are to behold. It’s a time for awe and wonder.

Take, for instance, Winterhazel—a mediocre leafy shrub. But just look at the show of yellow blooms it produces in the early spring!

Winterhazel (Corylopsis)

Here’s something I’ve never personally seen before…Bigleaf Maple Tree blooms!

Bigleaf Maple

Here’s a botanical denizen of the woodland…the Asian Mayapple. It’s interesting to watch them sprout in their early stage before their large, glistening leaves unfurl. They look a bit like umbrellas!

Asian Mayapple

Here is more woodland flora: young ferns and Trout Lilies.

Pink Trout Lilies (Erythronium)

I’ve never happened to notice these orange, fuzz covered flower buds of a Magnolia tree species. Really fascinating…and colorful!

Magnolia buds

Here’s an interesting looking bloom of an Illicium species, sometimes called Star Anise.

Star Anise (Illicium)

I’ll end my post with a couple of colorful, spring flowers. The first is a Peony species coming into bloom. And the second is…you guessed it…a Daffodil, with a little visitor.

Peony
Ladybug on Daffodil bloom

All images property of Peggy A Thompson

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Return to the Forest

“And into the forest I go to lose my mind and find my soul.” —John Muir

I returned to the forest over the weekend to explore more of the trail I was on before. The day started out quite sunny, but rain was forecast to begin later in the day. I made a split decision to take my chances early on in the day and hope for the best. To make a long story short, I made it back to my starting point just in time as the clouds moved in and cast a dark, gloomy sky. Along the way, I encountered some eerie tree shapes and root configurations along with interesting looking fungi. Someone told me that the trees looked like something out of Tolkien’s Middle Earth forests.

Oh, one thing that I didn’t mention in my previous blog post was that the multitude of bright, green ferns growing on many of the conifers and their branches are Licorice Ferns. The species is common in the Pacific Northwest and forests along the west coast. They survive the winter months when other fern species wither away for the season. Look for them in the images below. Underneath their fronds you will find their spores.

A very intriguing looking fungus that almost looks like a slug crawling up this branch.

Fire scarred Douglas Fir

All images property of Peggy A Thompson

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A Day in the Forest

Winters in the Pacific Northwest can certainly be dismal and gloomy with all the rain we get. But on those days when the clouds part and rays of sunlight break through, the local parks can get quite crowded. Everyone seems to have the same idea…get outside! Being the nature lover that I am, I headed into the forests nearby to sop up all the green color and earthy smells. It was a very still day and quite mild, almost spring-like! Follow me along the trails as I stop to observe all around me, above and below, strange, twisting branches, species of fungi and lichen, and ferns taking root on bright, green moss covered trees.

All images property of Peggy A Thompson

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