Ephemerals in our new backyard

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What new beauty do I behold, just steps away from our back door?

I’m probably more of a wildflower geek than any other kind of geek. So it’s a lot to say that I like spring ephemerals best of all. It’s hard to resist a September meadow burgeoning with asters and goldenrod, the delightful freakishness of carnivorous plants, or the unexpected surprise of a wild orchid. But nothing quite moves me as the watercolour burst, at once modest and rampant, that floods Ontario’s spring woodlands.

Melting snow reveals the marbled leaves of dogtooth violets. The rest soon emerge through last year’s crust of maple leaves, hastening to complete another round of delicate flora-lust before the new canopy unfolds, casting them in shade.

How can I express my joy at finding so many familiar favourites blossoming just steps from our new home? I am smitten. White and red trilliums, spring-beauties, jack-in-the-pulpits and violets grew under the silvers poplars at my childhood home. Memory and spring come hand in hand when these flowers greet me again.

The large-flowered bellwort is unusual, a plant I’ve only seen once or twice before. It’s also a member of a peculiar clan, Colchicaceae, the autumn crocus family. Odd taxonomy always fires my geekish enthusiasm.

As if that weren’t excitement enough, the woods is full of ramp, otherwise known as wild leeks (not shown here). I’ve never had them before! I can’t wait to add them to some recipes over the next few days. Not long after we spotted them, we met a man on a bicycle collecting them, but there’s plenty to share.

I had to concede that I was unable to keep up with the daily macro challenge. It’s not that I never have enough time, but there have been quite a few days when I didn’t. But it was a valuable exercise while it lasted, and helped me become more familiar with my new lens.

Days like this one will make up for it, though. All these images were taken in the space of an hour in an acre of woods visible from my office window; all except the last violet, which is in our lawn. We’re feeling lucky indeed in our new home in Waterloo. Life certainly has its moments.



Ephemerals in our new backyard — 5 Comments

  1. I am glad that you are finding such beauties in Waterloo. I grew up there and always enjoyed the green spaces. Happy adventures await you.

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