Sanguinaria and sparrows …

After the snowdrops managed to appear as the snow and ice reluctantly faded away we saw the appearance of the first crocuses in the garden round about the 15th of the month. Their appearance coincided with the sighting of a pair of Sapsuckers in the cedar tree by the compost heaps. Following this we had a few warm and sunny days that filled us with hope but they were followed by rain … rain which has led to some dreadful flooding in the area, albeit we are above it all. Gentle gardening work raked some of the leaves from the beds to reveal bulb shoots looking for light. Pushkinia, chinodoxa and scylla flowers were all under the leaf layer waiting to flower.

A few days later the first White-throated Sparrows arrived and took up station near the feeders. They have been hanging around ever since singing their “Oh Canada, Canada, Canada” song.

The pump was replaced in the pond and the waterfall (bird spa) was set up for the summer. It took a few days before the birds noticed it but in the past few days there has been plenty of splashing, including a Brown Creeper taking a bath in the middle of one of the heaviest rain days we have had and a Hermit Thrush.

New stone slabs (crazy paving) has been laid around the feeders – it gets wet and muddy there and we finally gave in to reality and decided short grass was not really the thing to have.

A most unexpected Pine Warbler paid a visit as he passed through on his way north and had a good feed at the sunflower feeder. Not quite a garden first, but is it 14 years since we last had one here. After that the rainy weather saw the arrival of more White-throated Sparrows, Purple Finches, Fox Sparrows and a few Chipping Sparrows. Dark-eyed Juncos are still here but will be leaving for the north shortly. Three Pine Siskins stopped by as this was being composed.

Leaf buds are swelling on the trees – everything will be green and bosky when we return from the UK  in mid-May.

One of the earliest native flowers in the garden or nearby forests is Sanguinaria (also known as Bloodroot), one of the “spring ephemerals”. We are fortunate to have a couple of patches in the garden.

A delight to see, following as it does the Snowdrops and appearing at about the same time as crocuses, scyllas (or should that be Scyllae?) and other tiny blue flowers. The reason for this post is that someone a week or two ago posted a photo of a snowdrop and described it as a bloodroot. Well, they are both white 😉

An excuse to show some pictures of the flowers emerging and opening over about a ten day period. After the flowers have gone the leaves really unfurl and grow quite large, but the best bit is happening in the garden/forest right now.

The flowers first appear as well camouflaged, and easy to step on, little green “thumbs” poking up from the forest floor. The leaves are very tightly furled around the floor stalk which, after a couple of days tentatively pokes its head above the leaves and then slowly extends so that the stalk is visible. The leaves slightly “relax” but are still furled protectively around the stalk. Once the plant is sure that the weather is suitable (some light, not too cold) the flower starts to open – at first like a small, white crocus in shape and then gradually unfurling to reveal a white star with a yellow centre. Later the leaves will unfurl and enlarge until after the flowers have introduced themselves to pollinator insects the leaves grow really quite large and spread to shade the ground below.

** Click any image below to see it at full screen size