Sunday, May 6, 2018

Dowagiac Woods Cass County Michigan April 30 2018

 Michigan had a cool, snowy, and mostly dry April this year.  Many spring wildflowers are affected by the temperature, amount of sunlight and moisture, and we saw the effect of this weather at Dowagiac Woods. When we arrived at this 384 acre Michigan Nature Association Sanctuary, it was 37 degrees at 10 a.m. on April 30 2018.

We know not to arrive too early, we now give the plants time to "wake up".  At 37 degrees some plants were still snoozing.  And I noticed a lack of wildflowers on the first part of our walk, most likely the result of the weather.

When we got to the parking area we met a young woman from Sarett Nature Center.  She walked along with us for awhile and we told her pretty much all we knew about the plants we were seeing.  She seemed grateful for the information we had and it was fun to share part of our day with her.
The first plants we see blooming are violets, right at the parking area.  Then it was Spring Beauty but they were closed up tight with their heads down.  Most of the green in the photo below is Wild Leek leaves.

 As the day went on and the sun warmed things up, the Spring Beauty poked up their pretty heads.

  We found Harbinger of Spring still blooming.

 The woods were tinged with yellow from the native deciduous shrub, Spicebush.

We started seeing trillium but just buds, as we walked on we saw a few blooming.
Mayapple had popped up.

 Dutchman's Breeches


 Marsh Marigold were blooming in the swampy areas.   
 Bright sunshine flowers!

We passed the Blue-Eyed Mary corner, we found a few in bud. But none were blooming, not even one.  So many wildflowers were blooming so it was okay, the weather was perfect.  The gnats were not perfect, they were biting! 

We spent about 3 1/2 hours walking around the main trail, then back to the car.  Dowagiac Woods has another area to the west of the main parking area, so we decided to check that section out. 

At the west end we found many Blue-Eyed Mary blooming!

We also found many of the same wildflowers blooming that we had been seeing all day.  They are so beautiful!  We saw more Large-Flowered Trillium, Marsh Marigold, Harbinger of Spring, Trout Lily, Hepatica, Buttercup, Blue Cohosh, Dutchman's Breeches, Greek Valerian ...

     Ohio Buckeye 
Also at the west end of Dowagiac Woods we saw this tree with a sign to assure our identification of it.   Its name comes from the 'buckeyes,' a small, dark brown nut with a light patch resembling the eye of a deer.   We saw this tree throughout the day in various stages of progression.  It has a beautiful cluster of yellow flowers, it should be blooming soon.
   Ohio Buckeye
Another great day to be outside!  Marie and I realize how fortunate we are to be able to enjoy these days.  We both enjoy them very much.


Anonymous said...

That was a special day. Dowagiac Woods never disappoints! So many beautiful wildflowers. I felt like a princess in a private garden. Your photos are good and not easy to take. All that up and down! While I stroll along enjoying everything my eyes see. Thanks again for the memories and being my patient sister. M :)

Allen Norcross said...

Hi Chris and Marie! I thought I'd try to comment and see if it has gotten any easier.
What beautiful flowers you have there. You're very lucky!

Plants Amaze Me said...

Marie, Dowagiac Woods is a place to look forward to every spring! Even the year we were a little early for some plants but we caught the hepatica blooming at its peak!
Where do we go next?

Plants Amaze Me said...

Hi Allen We do have many beautiful places here in Michigan and we try to get out to enjoy them as much as possible. Marie and I are amazed at how many times you mention something on your blog then we see the same thing on our walk! Lots of little things like, Blackberry seed gall or a certain leaf scar, the great part about that is you always figure out what we are seeing!

I can't count the time Marie has been saying BUD BREAK! It is an exciting time of year. We were out yesterday and saw quite a few Large Flowered Trillium. A trip to Aman Park should be made soon, there we see acres of the trilliums blooming.

Thanks, Chris

Mike Berst said...

Glad you buys caught the Dwarf ginseng, Hepatica and Blue-eyed Mary all in bloom! The blossoms have been coming and going quickly this year. We were serenaded by Wood Thrushes at sundown in Dowagiac Woods the other day.