In quest for early bloomers, look to the trees
OK, here’s what I think: all the forest “early bloomers,” frustrated with these weather patterns not being able to make up their minds what season they want to usher in, got together and collectively decided to force the issue and bloom right now.
If you, dear reader, adhere to the concept of forest trees conspiring against the laws of nature, I refer you to a book titled "The Hidden Life of Trees" – featured in the March issue of Smithsonian – that talks of the “feelings” of trees and how they “communicate” with each other.
体育在线365As for me, I’ll stick only to what I can see on my “walk-a-bouts” on Bear Creek Forest. Me claiming to hear trees talk would only confirm some people’s current opinion of my mental stability.
All I know is that we won’t see anything quite as bold as the ridiculously-early flowers of the Redbuds until the Beautyberries bear their fruit in the summer. And although the coy Sparkleberries and gnarly Hawthorns have yielded to emerging leaves, there are still plenty of flowers hanging on along the trails, like the “martyred” flowers of the Dogwood and the lifted pinkish-white petals of the bottomland Rain Lilies.
体育在线365Joining them now is a plethora of colors: the reds of the Buckeyes and Anises; the pinks of the Southern “Pinxterbloom” Azalea, and the delicate white-yellow of the Silverbells.
Not to mention the pink teacups of the Mountain Laurels, here at the southern-most extent of their natural range, and the orange-yellow “flames” of the Piedmont's “Flame Azalea.”
体育在线365Take all this in with a backdrop of the forest cloaked in new-green leaves against the canvas of a piercing morning blue sky and you’ve got yourself an ethereal kaleidoscope on your next hike!
Whether at Bear Creek or some other forest, I hope you will get out to behold the “pomp and glory” of North Florida’s springtime forests…but do it soon before “mother nature,” in a fit of frustration herself, decides to skip spring season altogether and jumps us right into the sweltering heat of summer.
Incidentally, if you’re interested in learning how to identify our North Florida trees and plants without their flowers, please consider coming to our 3rd Spring Tree ID Workshop at Bear Creek Educational Forest on Tuesday, April 24. It’s free, but class size is limited, so registration is required. For more information go to FloridaForestService.com and navigate to our Event Calendar or call 850/681-5892.
Tom Gilpin is Senior Forester at Bear Creek Educational Forest.