Today is another sunny, warm day (although the temperature went down to 38 last night). I love it but we could use some rain.
Last Thursday (March 27), I spotted Bloodroot on a steep hill on the side of the driveway. I couldn't get a photo then. Yesterday, at the bottom of the driveway, there were lots of these beautiful spring flowers.
Photo: April 1, 2008
Bloodroot (Sanuinaria candensis) is easy to find because its flower is large, almost 2 inches across. The orange juice of the stem was used by native Americans as a dye, hence the name Bloodroot.
Right across from the blood root, I spotted a Spice Bush.
Photo: March 26, 2008
Spice Bush flowers are small but with so many on the shrub, they provide a nice display in the bare woods. The leaves of the shrub taste spicy and are the host plant to the Spice Bush Swallowtail Butterfly caterpillar. We have hundreds of these shrubs throughout the woods but mostly lining the old logging roads and our driveway. No wonder I see lots of Spice Bush butterflies all summer.
Spice Bush is better to use for landscaping than the more common Forsythia and Burning Bush shrubs (invasive in the area) because it is native. It is great for wildlife (already mentioned the butterfly) but the birds love the red berries in the fall and early winter. The leaves turn bright yellow in the fall, providing nice contrast to the maroon red of dogwood leaves.
As I was driving down the driveway last Thursday, I also spotted some deer. I got out of the car and the three deer just stood there.
From what I learned on a recent naturalist field trip, these deer live in our hollow all year, with their territory only being about a mile. Since I saw a herd of 6-8 last fall, I am assuming that the hunters harvested most of this herd. I have to rationalize this--we don't have severe problems with deer as do others.
The temperature is rising (50 degrees) so I must get outside!