Nature Notes


By Greg Lecker

Along the entry drive and within the gardens, tulip petals are soaking wet, their colors saturated with moisture.  Several inches of rain have fallen and continue to fall.   In general, plants don’t seem to mind; but the earth yields to the flow of water.  Pools gather at the base of the hill below the climbing rose garden, flows across the Sensory Garden parking lot and onward to Iris Pond – which appears full.  Even with Grace Dayton Wildflower Garden, new vernal ponds have formed along and almost over the path this spring.

Along the entry path into the woodland, red and yellow columbine laps in the moisture.  Its flower stems seem to be stronger than they appear.  They remain erect, the flowers suspended and floating.


Marsh Marigold decorates the edges of the zig-zag brook where water flows stronger than I’ve witnessed before.

“I love the Cowslip, with its yellow cup;

And there the honey-bee delights to dwell

Athirst, still lingering for the last sweet sup

Till daylight fade;

Humming her merry airs o’er twilight dell

And dewy glade.”

– T. L. Merritt;

The Language of Flowers compiled and edited by Mrs. L. Burke

No insects are flying this morning – it’s too wet out.  I too enjoy the long-lasting blooms of cowslip or marsh marigold, which blooms here and in the bog at Green Heron Pond.

Marsh Marigold

The woodland is lush now.  A purple haze hovers above the green ground cover.  The blooms of Virginia waterleaf are delicately detailed.

Virginia Waterleaf

While many gardeners consider this plant a weed, it is a native wildflower found in woodlands.  Surprisingly, as often as not, the leaves are not mottled with patterns than resemble water droplets.  I cannot find any such plants this morning.

A flower that carries its own umbrella is Mayapple.  Large palmately divided leaves resemble the protecting outstretched hands of giant garden gnome.  Below are the wondrously softly tinted flower.  Carefully look under the leaves, and you will find the flowers.


I don’t have an umbrella this morning, not even a rain coat – forgotten at home.  Thus, I wrap up my visit early.  Be sure to bring rain gear and sunscreen on your next visit.  One never knows what nature will offer as entertainment next.

Greg Lecker is a Minnesota Master Naturalist Volunteer.






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