Heading South Searching for Spring

April 19, 2019

Author: Phyllis Root
Photographer: Kelly Povo

We’ve seen a few spring wildflowers so far this year—a skunk cabbage here, a snow trillium there, a hillside of pasqueflowers in the snow from an April blizzard.  Impatient for more and tired of waiting for spring to come to us, on a morning when frost glittered on grass like cut glass we headed south to look for spring—all the way south to Beaver Creek Valley State Park.  Along the way we stopped at Frontenac State Park where we’ve seen thousands of Dutchman’s breeches in past years, but we were too early; the most we found were leaves and buds and a few opening flowers.

But Beaver Creek Valley!  On the steep hillsides hepatica and bloodroot bloomed, false rue anemone and Dutchman’s breeches were almost open, and plentiful leaves of trout lily, cutleaf toothwort, and Canadian wild ginger promised more flowers to come. Mayapples were just powering their pointed way out of the ground, and in the parking area of a campsite we came across a dusting of spring beauty in striped bloom. Here, at last, we were gloriously surrounded by springtime.

The return trip next day took us through Carley State Park in search of bluebells. Surrounded by river song, bird song, and sweet morning light we found leaves and buds but still no blossoms.  We’ll be back in a week or two to see the avalanche of bluebells and false rue anemone down the hillsides of this river valley park, but for now the most green we saw was a rampage of ramps all across the forest floor.

We’d been told of pasqueflowers at Whitewater State Park, but even though we climbed the many, many steps up to the oak savannah on Eagle Point where they were said to bloom, we saw neither blossom nor bud nor last year’s leaf.  Still, hepatica bloomed all the way along the steps, and the view from the top was spectacular.

We made a quick stop at Forestville State Park because we had read of a place where squirrel corn, a flower we’ve been pursuing for a few years now, was said to grow.  We found the general area, but since squirrel corn and Dutchman’s breeches are said to be so similar except for their flowers, and since none of the plants was helpfully flowering, we haven’t yet seen squirrel corn.  Is it there?  Will we find it?  Such questions keep us searching.

Happily satiated with hepatica, spring beauty, bloodroot, and all the imminent wildflowers we’d seen, we drove home knowing we’d found spring and that before long, it will find us, too.

BloodRoot@72

Author: kellypovo

Kelly Povo, a professional photographer for over thirty years, has exhibited in galleries and art shows across the country. Her cards, gift books, and calendars have been sold internationally. She and Phyllis Root have collaborated on several books. This is her first book on Minnesota's Native Wildflowers.

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