Tuesday, April 9, 2013

April 2013 Hepatica Hill, Harbinger of Spring

April 08, 2013  It started as a dark, cloudy day, we decided to go to Hepatica Hill in Allegan County, about 40 miles south of where I live.  We discovered Hepatica Hill, a south facing hill along the Kalamazoo River, from a photographer /blogger, Mark Cassino.  My sister, Marie and I have several favorite places to look for wildflowers and we get pretty excited this time of year.

The thing that stands out for me, at Hepatica Hill, is that everything is cold, gray, and wet, with snow still in ditches and on some trails, but yet, there are these beautiful hepatica blooming.  All the browns and grays, then a beautiful wildflower just growing, fighting the odds, and drabness all around it!
Of course, it is great later on in the year, when there are many, different wildflowers all around but hepatica are some of the first and they are so soft and sweet.

Marie found this cool rock.

                                   At the bottom of Hepatica Hill

Kalamazoo River at Hepatica Hill

We made a very quick stop at our Happy Boots Corner in Allegan County.  I found some Marsh Marigolds struggling to bloom. 
Marsh Marigold buds

There was a steady rain while we were at Hepatica Hill, even with our rain gear we were getting wet so we hopped back in the warm car and checked out some bridges in Allegan County. 

We were driving through Casco Township and came upon Casco Township Nature Preserve.

We passed through a couple cemeteries.
We drove along the lake shore and stopped in at 121st Avenue road end, a beach along Lake Michigan and Plummerville Creek.               
 Lake Michigan at 121st Ave road end.
    Plummerville Creek flowing into Lake Michigan

But that wasn't the end of our day, we ended up, after still more rain, at the Herrick District Library in Holland, Michigan.  We looked at all the wildflower books, noting the fact that we either own them or have had them on loan from the library.  Then we looked through the Michigan section of the library. 
I found a small photo journal of Casco Township, the township we had just been driving through, and found it very interesting. 
At last it was time to go home, we did have a fun filled day!
Before Marie left to go to her house, I thought we should check my hepatica growing here in my woods, it isn't blooming yet.  Then we checked another area where I had transplanted a few wildflowers that we came across last year growing on the edge of a dirt road, right in harm's way.

There in this small patch was one tiny Habinger of Spring blooming!  I have never seen this plant here in our woods so it was a treat to find it blooming.  It doesn't look like much until you take a close look. 

                      My very own Harbinger of Spring   
 Erigenia bulbosa, also known as harbinger of spring or pepper and salt, is a perennial plant in the carrot family (Apiaceae). E. bulbosa is the only species in the genus Erigenia (Nutt.). This plant is known as harbinger of spring because it is one of the earliest blooming native wildflowers of rich forests in the mid-latitude United States       


New Hampshire Gardener said...

I've searched and searched for both hepatica and marsh marigold here with no luck. Our soil is very acid and they like alkaline soil, so if I find them it will be dumb luck. I don't recognize that last flower, but it's pretty.

Dave said...

YAY , Its spring finally !!!

Plants Amaze Me said...

Hi Allen, the hepatica in my woods, I transplanted from my parents woods several years ago. Growing up, just a few miles from where I live now, we always had hepatica in the woods. But in our woods here there is no hepatica. We have had much rain and warmer temps, even some 70's fifty miles south of here.
The harbinger of spring or pepper and salt, (Erigenia bulbosa) is fairly new to me, having seen just in the last few years. My sister and I visit a certain gravel road south of here, that is very wet and has a south facing hill, where we have found many spring wildflowers. Some are growing so close to the road and get dug up by the road graders. I think Erigenia bulbosa doesn't grow in your state.
Close up it is a pretty little flower.

Plants Amaze Me said...

Hey Dave, How are things on the east side of the state? It is finally spring!

Anonymous said...

Wow, "so soft and sweet" is just perfect describing Hepatica. Wish I knew what was on my rock. Mosses and lichens all look the same. Love the creeks that flow into Lake Michigan. Your Harbinger-of-spring was the highlight of our day. That is some teeny plant and to think you have one. Wow. M :)

Plants Amaze Me said...

Yes so soft and sweet. Remember eating the petals of hepatica when we were kids? Sorry I can't help with your rock growth. The Harbinger-of-Spring now has 3 flowers! Is it too early for Dowagiac Woods?

Anonymous said...

Looks like I need to start keeping an eye open for flowers! I haven't seen any except a few crocus struggling to flower in the almost constant rain this week.

Plants Amaze Me said...

We haven't seen too many wildflowers yet just those few, and the Harbinger-of-Spring are tiny. So much rain, but I heard that this March was one of the driest so the rain is good. April showers bring May flowers! I think a couple days of sun and flowers will pop out.