Saturday, March 07, 2009

A Walk In The Woods.

My husbands parents retired to a community in Hot Springs Village Arkansas. While visiting recently I found one of my favorite spring wildflowers growing along a path in the garden.
Claytonia virginica/Spring Beauty

I decided to take a walk along one of the nearby trails to see if I could find more.
Here you can see an open flower and the narrow leaves, some purplish from the still chill nights.

Click here for more information
One of our prettiest and earliest-blooming wildflowers—spring beauty (Claytonia virginica)—is also a delicious vegetable. It may be the definitive tater tot. Native to moist woodlands, sunny stream banks, and thickets in eastern North America, this low-growing plant has tiny underground tubers that can be prepared and eaten just like potatoes. Indeed, another common name for the spring beauty is the "fairy spud."

Illinois Wildflowers ...excerpt
Various kinds of bees visit the flowers, include honey bees, bumblebees, Little Carpenter bees, Mason bees, Nomadine Cuckoo bees, Miner Halictid bees (including Green Metallic bees), and Andrenid bees. Many flies also visit the including Syrphid flies, the Giant Bee fly (Bombylius major), Carrion flies, Muscid flies, and Anthomyiid flies. Less often, various butterflies and skippers visit the flowers. These insects usually seek nectar; some of the bees also collect pollen. It is possible that the corms, which are edible, are eaten occasionally by voles and other small rodents. They can be eaten by humans as well, but their small size makes this rather impractical.
University Of Arkansas Agricultural Extension
USDA Plants Profile and distribution map
Ozark Edge Wildflowers

The marked walking trails are nice with lots to see even on a late February stroll.

The most exciting find was a hobbit hole. No wooden door to knock at so one must shout "HELLO!" before entering.

No one seemed to be at home this day or else all were sleeping late.

Can you imagine Tolkien strolling along a wood in England and finding just such a dwelling before penning 'The Hobbit'?

Other than Spring Beauties most green flora consisted of ferns and moss.

Some blooming.

Some shining in the sunlight.

Isn't this moss covered bank pretty?

And this growing on a decaying fallen branch.

These little mushrooms looked liked something from a story about to set out on a walk along the trail on such a fine day.

Our own garden here in Chicago is still very brown except for the tips of a few bulbs begining to emerge. Todays warm rain should encourage them.


Blogger EAL said...

I love the claytonia. I've heard of it and think it might grow around here as well.

8/3/09 8:55 PM  
Blogger Gloria said...

EAL, such a pretty little flower. I want to plant a few in our hobbit garden.The distribution maps show them all over eastern north america so I'm sure in a month or a little more they will begin blooming somewhere near you and I.
In Hot Springs it has been so warm and springlike already. While there I bought bulbs in six-pack pots (just emerging green) to plant outside. Cost was only a dollar each for tulips and less than two each for others. I just received a call from the MIL,her name is Elizabeth as well, saying the bulbs are beginning to bloom and she has a very nice display. Too bad that would not work here...

9/3/09 10:49 AM  
Blogger garden girl said...

Very nice photos Gloria! Those mushrooms are awesome and look like the perfect foil for gnomes!

I love spring beauties. My ex-MIL's lawn is carpeted with them every year. I've always loved seeing them every spring. I had no idea they were edible.

9/3/09 10:57 AM  
Blogger Gloria said...

Thank You Garden Girl!
I did not know Spring Beauty was edible until recently. I did not even realize that it grew from a corm.
Talking to a wildflower enthusiast was where I first heard it then looked it up from several sources.
If I can get it growing successfully maybe I'll be daring and try it out. Or not...

9/3/09 1:13 PM  
Blogger Cheryl said...

I love the UK they are just begining to appear on the verges along the country pretty.

I love the hobbit hole....we see many in the woodlands here. I am a Lord of the Rings fan.....I was with you on the Tolkien thing, I could see it in my mind's eye......

Beautiful post.....

9/3/09 3:32 PM  
Blogger Gloria said...

Thank you Cheryl, walking through the woods or along a stream are favorite pastimes even in winter. We try to have the garden echo some of the settings we see.
I have reread 'Lord of the Rings'a couple of times over the years and do silly stuff like use entwife as a user name. I would love to have someone sculpt an ent from a fallen tree...

10/3/09 4:49 PM  
Blogger Rosemarie said...

Such great photos - and I love the hobbit house!!

16/3/09 12:01 PM  
Blogger Gloria said...

Thanks Rosemarie! Is it spring yet at your house?

17/3/09 3:14 PM  
Blogger Dave Coulter said...

Looks like it was a nice hike :)

24/3/09 9:11 AM  
Blogger Gloria said...

Hey Dave, yes it was a nice walk. I'm not sure these walks provide much benefit as exercise. I tend to stop every few feet to examine something or take a picture,but they sure do provide a sense of peace.

26/3/09 10:14 AM  

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