Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Look What We Found! Spring Ephemerals at Johnson's Mound

On the suggestion of my friend, Kevin McGowen, I took the kids to Johnson's Mound Forest Preserve in Batavia, IL today. Kevin is part of the sales staff at my plant supplier, Midwest Groundcovers, and also writes the Midwest Groundcovers Display Gardens and Plant Trials blog. Kevin is an expert in our Illinois native plants (and a super nice guy), so when he told me about Johnson's Mound, I was excited to check it out with the kids.

"Johnson's Mound is a heavily wooded classic example of a stratified gravel hill known as a "kame", which was deposited by glacial ice and water some 10,000 years ago. This kame is a prominent feature on our mid-county landscape, rising 50 feet above the surrounding tributaries of Blackberry Creek and the glacial outwash plain." - Kane County Forest Preserve website

Now, I often take the kids on these "adventures," we call them, when I want to explore a garden or natural site and study plants. We both win - they get to spend time absorbing the natural world, and I get my plant fix. On this adventure, we were on a flower hunt. I was looking for spring ephemerals, those wildflowers that quickly fade when the forest trees leaf out, in an effort to learn more about them.

The topography of the preserve is it's main feature, along with the carpet of wildflowers. The steep hills and valleys were really obvious with the trees in their mostly bare state. This created a sort of otherworldly feeling - very surreal and natural. That feeling was promptly broken by the kids asking for crackers, tripping over branches, and the little one asking me to carry him, but hey. Whattareyagonnado?

So, what was blooming at Johnson's Mound? Many plants in our area are way ahead of schedule (Mother's Day just won't be the same without the lilacs in bloom - some are blooming now!), and the spring ephemerals are no exception. I hope to return to Johnson's Mound in a week or two and see what else has awoken!

Dicentra cucullaria (Dutchman's Breeches) were everywhere

Uvularia grandiflora (Large-Flowered Bellwort)

Claytonia virginica (Spring Beauties)
Podophyllum peltatum (May Apples) were up, but not in bloom yet.
Look under the leaves in a week or so for the pretty white flowers.
Anyone know what these sweet flowers are?
They carpeted the forest floor.

Sanguinarium canadensis (Bloodroot) was not in bloom
 (nor were trillium), but I love the shape of the foliage.

1 comment:

  1. Isopyrum biternatum! Thanks for the nice words Tina!