Thursday, April 18, 2013

Dowagiac Woods April 15, 2013

Road Trip to southwest Michigan!  Marie and I visited Robinson Woods, near Lakeside, Michigan, about 100 miles south of my home. 
"One of the earliest properties in Michigan protected by The Nature Conservancy, the 80-acre Robinson Woods Preserve in Chikaming Township features steep slopes cut by streams that run through virgin and second-growth forest on former agricultural lands and floodplains."
Near the parking area there were trillium, not blooming.
Leaves of the Downy Rattlesnake Plantain (Goodyera pubescens)   Orchid.  We should come back here in July- August to see these bloom!

A brand new False Rue Anemone (Enemion biternatum) 
Buttercup family.

So even though Robinson Woods is an interesting place, I think we were a bit early for spring wildflowers.  I was excited when Marie suggested we go to Dowagiac Woods next, my favorite place for spring wildflowers.  We traveled through Three Oaks, then Niles, Michigan.  We came across Losensky Park (452 Pucker StNilesMI ), we were here a few years ago.  Nice little park next to a dam on the Dowagiac River, but the footbridge was closed.  Still we saw wildflowers (weeds to some) blooming!

 Persian Speedwell  (Veronica persica)  Figwort Family.

Common Dandelio(Taraxacum officinale) 

Next Dowagiac Woods...

 Located in Cass County, Michigan and owned by  Michigan Nature Association.

Sharp-Lobed Hepatica  (Hepatica nobilis acuta or  Anemone acutiloba) Buttercup Family.  Although Skunk Cabbage blooms earlier in the spring, hepatica is more like what we think a spring wildflower should be, - small, delicate, and pastel colored.

These are all hepatica, we actually saw hundreds of them, different colors, and shapes, from 5 to 12 "petals".  The petals are actually sepals. 
For me the hepatica was the best part of the day, or month for that matter.  They were standing so tall, and were very delicate, and colorful.

We also saw Purple Cress (Cardamine douglasii) Mustard Family.

Dutchman's Breeches (Dicentra cucullaria)  Fumitory Family.

 Dowagiac River

 We saw just a few Spring Beauty (Claytonia virginica) Purslane Family.

 Harbinger-of-Spring (Erigenia bulbosa) Carrot Family, we saw hundreds of these blooming too, they were everywhere!
 We saw a handful of Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis) Poppy Family.

Trout Lily Erythronium americanum) Lily Family,  we saw only a few blooming.

 Just two Marsh Marigold  (Caltha palustris) blooming, beautiful color.  Buttercup Family.
 Trail through Dowagiac Woods, below a bumble bee...

 The bridge along the trail at Dowagiac Woods...

Never have I seen this many hepatica blooming at the same  

time, it was a real treat.  Thanks, Marie, for taking me there. 


Anonymous said...

You have captured the magic of that day! I still cannot believe the number of Hepatica and Harbinger-of-spring we saw. Imagine, wherever you look, wildflowers! Brave, delicate, and so varied in color. It was marvelous. What does Dowagiac Woods have that other woods don't? Thanks for sharing. M :)

Dave said...

Wow!!!!!! Really Good shots of my favorite spring flowers, the Hepatica. Never have seen the different colors. Thanks so much for posting this as it has been such a long winter. We even missed timing the salamander migration this year. im going to get out in the woods soon .

Anonymous said...

Wow! I'm surprised that there were that many flowers blooming already with the spring that we're having. They are beautiful, so I suppose I should thank Marie for taking you there as well!

New Hampshire Gardener said...

Wow-what beautiful flowers. I can tell by the different species that there is alkaline soil there. I finally figured out that we don't have hepatica and marsh marigold here because they don't like acid soil. Your trout lily and bloodroot are just a few days ahead of ours, I think. Thanks for the hike!

Plants Amaze Me said...

Marie, Hepatica sure is pretty, we timed it just right! That was the best - all those Hepatica!
Blogspot wasn't working very well, I had to put black behind the words or they wouldn't show up! You can see it in the version sent to your email.
I'm not sure why there are so many wildflowers at Dowagiac Woods, does anyone know? I hope we get to go again soon, but no pressure, anywhere we go will be fun. :)

Plants Amaze Me said...

Thanks, Jerry- Dowagiac is about 100 south and they did have just a bit of warmer weather than we did here up north. Now it is possibly under water!
It is pretty lucky that my sister and I get to go out as often as we do. We appreciate each day we get out there even if it does rain. So yes thanks, Marie.

Plants Amaze Me said...

FlowerDave, if you had as much rain on the east side of Michigan as we have had here, then you should be careful by that river of yours! I can see the very flooded Grand River from my house, it is much closer than usual.
Hope you have a good walk and maybe see a flower.

Plants Amaze Me said...

Thanks Allen, so maybe a bit of wood ash to raise the PH in the soil near my hepatica? Maybe that's why hepatica grew well in my parents yard because my dad would burn leaves and the ash stayed in the soil? Hm... that's just a thought.
I have Trailing Arbutus growing in my woods and I've read that it likes sandy, acidic, soil. If I put some pine needles in the area maybe it would help the Trailing Arbutus?
Thanks for stopping by.

New Hampshire Gardener said...

Wood ashes and pine needles won't hurt and might help condition the soil so that it's more to the plants' liking. I wouldn't want to let the wood ash actually touch the plants though, because it might burn them. Pelletized limestone for alkalinity and ground peat moss for acidity would also work-possiblly a litter faster.

Mike said...

We have enjoyed following your blog for quite a while and little did we know that we met you and didn't even realize it. I checked our log, and sure enough - Dowagiac Woods, April 15th. You were coming out on the trail just as we came in, and Kathie was talking to you guys about boots. I am sure that must have been you and Marie. That was our third visit that week. It is as very special place.

We also visited Warren Woods and Love Creek Nature Center a couple of days ago. You should visit those places if you haven't yet.

Your photos are very good. Don't worry about not having a fancy camera, it is the photographer that takes the pictures, not the equipment, and you have a great eye and sense of composition.

Keep on hiking and shooting, and maybe we will cross paths again some day soon.

Plants Amaze Me said...

Thanks so much Mike! That was us, at the end of a long and fun day at Dowagiac Woods. It's cool to be recognized by my blog, that hasn't happened before. I'm so glad you left a comment.

We have visited Warren Woods and Love Creek Nature Center (2009), we might get there again soon. You guys are lucky to visit Dowagiac Woods so often, we are always curious of what is blooming (where and when), I come from Grand Haven, so only get a few trips in the spring to southwest Michigan.

The photos I take are my memory of our adventures, Marie and I have been going out every week, all year round, for over 6 years. When I put a post together, it is like going on the trip again. We know we are very lucky to have this fun each week.

Hope we meet again some day. Happy wildflowering.
:) Chris