The first triumphant trill of a Red Winged Blackbird. The rumor of skunk cabbage at Jackson Field. The sudden disappearance of ice on Sunset Pond. This year, we were all searching for signs that winter was finally ending.
Skunk Cabbage Blossom
Although it seemed like winter would last forever, I knew that spring was coming because the signs were all around me. Each day in March brought something magical and unexpected. The swollen buds of an Eastern Redbud and the pretentious fan of the Hooded Merganser made it a little easier to tie my scarf around my neck and brush the snow off my car one last time. These may have been the earliest signs, but my favorites by far are the spring wildflowers.
Few sights compare to the spring wildflower display in Cleveland Metroparks! Although other wildflowers bloom throughout the spring and summer, those that peek out of the ground this time of year are very special. Many of our woodland wildflowers go through their entire life cycle during the spring season. They sprout leaves, make flowers, grow seeds, and store energy for next year, all before the trees leaf out and steal all the sunlight. For some, this entire process takes only a few weeks. These amazing little plants are also incredibly beautiful and can be hard to spot. They may bloom only in one corner of your favorite park, or you may have to travel to see them. Wherever you look, it is worth the hunt to see the stunning pure white of bloodroot or the delicate lavender glow of hepatica.
I challenge you to join me in truly embracing spring this year. We all can use an excuse to get out and do some wandering, alone or with family and friends. There are many organized spring walks and wildflower wanders throughout Cleveland Metroparks. You can even sign up for the Tour of Wildflowers and try to find all the flowers on the checklist before they lose their blooms.
Spring wildflowers are a true treasure for those who take the time to look. Take a walk this spring, come on a naturalist-led wildflower hike, and sign up for the Tour of Wildflowers. I’ll see you on the trail!