By Greg Lecker
Upon my entry to the Arboretum I see two Canada geese parents and several goslings. All are very wary of me – though I remain in my vehicle. The youth mimic movements of their guardians – eating, grooming, and stretching necks. Before long, all move onto the safety of the water.
With display garden tulips in bloom, I’m excited to see what awaits in the woodland and prairie – and I’m not disappointed! The sloping curving path connecting the Sensory Garden parking lot with the Grace Dayton Woodland Garden is awash with yellow lady’s slippers – their expanding slipper body glowing in the morning sun. Crimson sepals recurve, twist and decorate the bloom. The larger showy lady’s slipper will likely bloom between the first and second week of June. Monitor our blog to learn of their appearance.
Purple woodland phlox, Jacob’s ladder, woodland poppy and more are blooming in particular profusion this spring. It’s shooting star that captures my attention. White or pale purple, its petals flare backward from a diving flower center that is delicately detailed.
The woods are truly “lovely, dark and deep” (thank you, Robert Frost) – and relatively still and quiet this morning as well. Low sun frosts flower edges and backlights papery petals. I hear few birds except for distant drumming woodpeckers and the chortling red-bellied woodpecker that remains my favorite.
Before leaving the woodland, I witness the first mosquitos alight on my hands. I’m reminded to carry repellent for these insects and especially for deer ticks that are in some abundance from the spring’s moisture.
I walk past fading magnolia and redbud blooms on my way to the prairie and the Capen Display garden. In a short lived occurrence, Pasque Flower and Prairie Smoke blooms and seed heads are both present. While its blooms are more vibrantly colored, Prairie Smoke is named for the fuzzy flurry of seed head that unfurls as the flower stems grow taller.
Pasque Flower also grows taller as the plant transitions from flower to seed heads. Its seed heads spike outward like the fictional Seussical Lorax tree.
This week’s rains are needed to keep spring moving along.
Greg Lecker is a Minnesota Master Naturalist Volunteer.