Friday, April 16, 2010
Trout lilies are amazing woodland plants. These perennial plants are one of the first to appear in the early spring, often growing up through the snow. They can be identified by the brown spots on their leaves which look somewhat similar to the markings on a brown trout.
Te flowers, at least in this area, are a brilliant yellow. There are some species which do bloom white and others in shades of red. The flowers close at night; and they are not early risers the following day. The picture above was taken at almost 10:30 in the morning. Despite the brilliant April sunshine, they didn't open until then.
The trout lily slowly grows in colonies mainly by their underground root system, although each flower will have four seeds. They are usually found in woodlands in rich, loamy and moist soil in areas of deep shade when the leaves on the trees emerge.
According to some, the plants are edible and have some medicinal purposes. I'd be cautious, too many of them can induce vomiting.
The low growing trout lily, average height is about four inches, have a lot of possibilities for the home yard if there is a shady moist area. They can be purchased at garden supply centers. The native plants offer a great splash of color after the dull grays of winter.
For more information about the plant and an article I wrote at Associated Content here.
Leeks or ramps, are also abundant in woodland areas and emerged the same days as the trout lily. Also called wild onions, the leek is a flavorful favorite among many people. They can be eaten raw or added as a spice to other dishes such as potato soup, ham and leeks, dips and pesto sauces.
Both the white bulb, stem and leaves can be used. Like the trout lily, leeks generally disappear shortly after blooming and are hard to find by mid-June
Right now is prime picking season in this neck of the woods.
The peeps awoke and began singing April 2nd – a sure sign that spring has arrived. It is always the best musical in town. According to some folklore, once the peeps sing, there will be three more cold snaps with snow. As of today we have had snow twice. If the wisdom is correct, one more blast of winter.
Phenology is sort of a fancy word meaning observation. It is the study of the appearance of recurring biological phenomena and their relationship to the weather such as the trout lily, leeks and peepers.
Those observations or signs can be used as indicators that other activities can begin. Some of the phenological sages include: plant potatoes when the dandelions bloom, peas can be planted when the daffodils bloom (about the same time as the trout lily). Beets, carrots and lettuce can be planted when the lilacs leaf out. The observations can be used as a good indicator or a more natural guidepost.
Just a few thoughts as many get ready for yard work and vegetable gardens this spring.
Behind the veggie garden is the Frog Bog – actually a small minnow pond with Rosy Red minnows and a lot of frogs and salamanders, and some nice looking water lilies. The old bridge collapsed during a heavy snowfall and a more elaborate one is in the process.
The new bridge will include a wooden deck area. It has sort of developed into a rural neighborhood project and is built with a lot of this and that from neighbors and from some dedicated help. Eventually, there will be an attached cold frame (hopefully). It's a nice spot just to kick back and watch and maybe have a beer or two.
Koyote Hill has been a little late due to some computer probs. But hopefully, all is well. I think everything is basically up and running. Click on some ads if something catches your eye, it sure helps.
Good Blogs to Read
On Your Way to the Top
New York's Southern Tier
Urban Veggie Garden
Vincent di Fondi