It's azalea time once more at Wahkeena. The terrace behind the nature center is bursting with pinks and white and orange that are typical of mid May.
Above is the orange Flame Azalea (Rhododendron calendulaceum) which is native to the local Sugar Grove region and is a state-endangered species here in Ohio.
The cultivated pink rhododendron planted by the Carmen Warner many years ago still blooms at the edge of the lawn near the nature center.
Back in the woods, the canopy is quickly closing but our brightest red woodland wildflower is in bloom. Fire Pink (Silene virginica) is also known as catchfly because of its sticky stem which may temporarily trap small insects. (Note; this does not mean that the plant digests insects like carnivorous plants such as the Venus flytrap).
Our third orchid in the blooming order is now out and about. The Puttyroot (Aplectrum hyemale) is easily missed among the now very green forest floor. The once prominent leaf has now disintegrated leaving only the bare flower stock. This is one of those flowers that visitors sometimes ask, "When is it going to bloom?" And the answer is....it is in bloom!
Our native magnolia trees are also in peak bloom right now. The Tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipifera) is a major component of forest community here at Wahkeena. It can be easily identified by its tall, straight growth pattern. A valued hardwood is it also known as Yellow Poplar or the hybrid name Tulip Poplar. But don't be mistaken, the Tulip tree is a magnolia and not a poplar- like Cottonwood and Aspen.
And it is also goslings time again....Which means for some people it is crying time again! Canada geese are really good at three things- having babies, eating grass and pooping! But those little balls of yellow-green fluff are soooo cute! The pair above have five goslings. Another pair had only two and a third pair is yet to hatch. So it is definitely time to watch where you step! Carmen Warner loved her geese and today it is hard for people to believe that these maternal creatures, who mate for life, were once feared to be in danger of disappearing.
Life renewed is a good thing.
Posted by Tom