Early, early spring

On Friday, skunk cabbage and witch hazel were in bloom at the Thielke Arboretum in Glen Rock, and pussy willow buds were swelling. This is only slightly behind where we were at the same time last year; thirty or forty years ago, this would have seemed like a normal or slightly early spring, but nowadays it seems very late. This morning I heard a cardinal’s mating call for the first time this season, an unmistakeable sign of spring. Chipmunks have woken from hibernation.

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Pussy willow (Salix discolor), a large wetland shrub, grows alongside the pond at the Thielke Arboretum.

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A closeup of the buds, which have just burst open.

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Spring-blooming witch hazel, Hamamelis vernalis, another large shrub that likes wet feet.

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Skunk cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus), an obligate wetland plant that creates heat to help melt the snow.

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and a beautiful fungus eating away at fallen wood. Amidst growth there must always be decay.

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One thought on “Early, early spring

  1. Thanks for these hopeful signs of spring. The barred owls kept me up last night with their mating calls, and the ‘possums were bickering as usual!

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