In Flanders Fields

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My poppies have begun blooming, just in time for Memorial Day.

I know that my poppies are not the same type that traditionally represent the holiday, but I felt that the symbolism  remains the same. It honors the soldiers who bravely risked their lives in the battlefield.

The symbol of the poppy in memory of fallen soldiers began during the Napoleonic wars where poppies bloomed in the Flanders Field. It was believed that the blood of the soldiers had caused the red poppies to bloom –  a sign that the war was over. Poppies as a symbol of remembrance grew, especially after World War I, with the publishing of the poem, In Flanders Fields.

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

~by John McCrae, May 1915~

 

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Into the Woods

We’ve had a lot of ups and downs in temperature this spring. Warm weather at the beginning of April popped open a lot of the early woodland ephemera, but by the time I began my annual pilgrimages towards the end of the month when it turned cold again, many of my favorites were long gone. Still, the Trillium were at their peak, and lots of other lovelies blooming so I made another trek a week later to enjoy them all over again..

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You can see how much the leaves on the trees have popped after only one week. The first hike was on the Kal-Haven Trail, the 2nd was at the Nature Center.

All that was left of the sharped-lobed hepatica (Anemone acutiloba), bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis) and trout lily (Erythronium americanum) were their leaves. The flowers were done. Even though they were finished, I managed to see lots of others on the trail.

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Blue-Eyed Mary (Collinsia verna) were looking lovely. They are listed as a threatened wildflower in Michigan however they seem to be thriving at our local Nature Center.

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Dutchman’s Breeches  (Dicentra cucullaria). I didn’t find many blooming along the trail, as they are almost done for the season. However, there was a bumper crop of

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Squirrel Corn (dicentra canadensis) in very large patches. The 2 dicentra species are related to each other. Botanists used to think that the garden variety of bleeding heart also shared the same DNA, but they recently decided that though they are loosely related, the DNA is different. So what used to be Dicentra spectabilis blooming in the garden is now known as Lamprocapnos spectabile.

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Spring Beauty (Claytonia virginica) is almost done as well, but I did find a few clumps here and there. I recently discovered another common name for this delicate pink flower: “fairy spud”. Somehow it doesn’t have the same ring as “spring beauty”.

Clockwise starting at the top I saw woodland phlox (Phlox divaricata laphamii), cutleaf toothwort (Dentaria laciniata), large-flowered bellwort (Uvularia grandiflora) and blue cohosh (Caulophyllum thalictroides) in full bloom all over the hillsides along the trail despite the cold rainy weather.

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False rue anemone (Enemion biternatum) were everywhere and looking lovely. I didn’t really see the regular rue anemone (Thalictrum thalictroides) but unless you know what to look for, they are difficult to tell apart.

The difference between the two species are

1. false rue anemone has 5 petals while the regular rue anemone can have up to 10 flower petals and

2. false rue anemone has deeply lobed leaves (like gloves), while the leaves of the regular rue anemone have 3 shallow leaflets (more like mittens).

The red elderberry shrub (Sambucus racemosa) and celandine wood poppy (Stylophorum diphyllum) were also making an appearance.

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The flashiest flowers on the trail this time of year were the trillium (Trillium grandiflorum),

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img_20160507_172154.jpg jack-in-the-pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum)

,

img_20160507_155055018.jpgand  down in the wetlands area, marsh marigolds (Caltha palustris).

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I’m looking forward to my next hike.

Posted in flowers, hiking, Michigan, nature, spring, wildflowers | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Happy Easter

Happy Easter!

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Also celebrating my 61st birthday. My birthday month is usually cold, gray and gloomy. Today was a nice change sunny and warm in the upper 60s. I did my annual birthday walk down the lake to pick a pussy willow bouquet for Mom, heard the spring peepers peeping, the raucous calls of the red-winged blackbirds, and the surprisingly loud rattles of Sandhill Cranes. We all had a yummy (and healthy) salmon and fresh asparagus Easter dinner. All in all, a very good day.

 

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