nichepoetryandprose

poetry and prose about place

Archive for the ‘signs of spring’ Category

mayflowers

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In spring it is always fun to put all your senses together and search out the elusive mayflower, also known as trailing arbutus. Epigaea repens grows in the open woods where I live. You usually have to search for the trailing leaves and lift them to find the flowers.

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mayflower 4

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touch: the leaves are furry on the underside and smooth above; the petals of the flower are waxy.

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smell: the flowers are fragrant with a sweet, almost heady perfume.

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sight: the flowers are white to faintly pink; leaves are green with coppery brown surfaces and edges.

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mayflowers crop

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Trailing Arbutus

(Epigaea repens L.)

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on the slope, new leaves

Trientalis, Gaultheria

Star-flower, Wintergreen,

vines of Partridge-berry creep

Maianthemum unfurls

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beneath the din, a melody

weeps Epigaea, evergreen

pressed to the hillside

leather armour, thickened leaves

weather-beaten, worn

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waxy bloom resists

subtle shadow

predator

unrelenting rain

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Mayflowers cropped

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all my best,

staying at home,

Jane

Written by jane tims

April 22, 2020 at 7:00 am

three yellows

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On Sunday, we went for a drive along New Brunswick Route 615, eventually travelling from Mactaquac to Nackawic. A pleasant drive, climbing into the hills of this part of New Brunswick.

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Early into our drive, a theme suggested itself … the yellow flowers of spring. These included the daffodil and the blazing Forsythia (Forsythia sp.) … a deciduous shrub with copious yellow blooms.

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Another yellow flower crowding the edges of almost every ditch, was Tussilago farfara or Coltsfoot.  The flowers have been in bloom a couple of weeks and will soon set their white fluffy seed. After the flowers have faded, the leaves will appear, big green ears seemingly unrelated to the yellow flowers of spring.

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At the foot of a farmer’s field, we saw another yellow flower, usually found in wooded wet areas or in hardwoods. The mottled green and purple leaves are the first identifying feature. Close-up, the nodding yellow flower with its recurved petals and drooping stamens show this is the Dog’s Tooth Violet, or Yellow Trout-lily (Erythronium americanum).

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Today, my yellow tulips are blooming, yet another addition to the yellow flowers of this season.

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All my best,

Jane 

Written by jane tims

May 15, 2019 at 11:11 am

Coltsfoot – first flower of spring

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Although other flowers quickly follow, the first flower to bloom along our New Brunswick roads is Coltsfoot (Tussilago Farfara L.). Its bright yellow flowers are often mistaken for Dandelion, but Coltsfoot is recognised by a quick check for the leaves … Coltsfoot blooms before its leaves appear.

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The yellow blooms of Tussilago form large patches in waste areas, beside brooks and roads, and on damp hillsides. Its dandelion-like flowers are borne on scaly, leafless stems. Later, the large, woolly leaves appear. Other names for the plant are Son-before-the-Father, which refers to the appearance of flowers before the leaves, and pas-d’âne (literally donkey-steps). The scientific names are from the Latin tussis, meaning a cough and referring to the European use of the plant as a remedy for such ailments, and the Latin word for coltsfoot, farfarus. The plant was named by Linnaeus, the Swedish botanist who established the present day system of naming plants.

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Coltsfoot

Tussilago Farfara L.

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Gold-

splashed beside the road

like prints

of a frisky colt’s feet

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at first glance-

an early dandelion!

but-

too early

stem scaly

no leaves          below the bloom

no perfume.

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Coltsfoot,

Son-before-the-Father

(flowers before the leaves).

Introduced from

far away.

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Old wives say

boiled greens

will ease

a cough.

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Long ago

Tussilago

sprang from where

a burro trod

among the palms

(pas-d’ane).

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Poem published as: ‘Coltsfoot’, Winter 1993, The Antigonish Review 92:76-77.

Copyright 2018 Jane Tims

 

Written by jane tims

May 4, 2018 at 7:30 am

puddle ducks

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This time of year the St. John River is at flood levels and backwaters are good places to see many species of duck.

Last weekend, when the water still had a few shallow grassy places for dabbling, we saw these fellows along the old Trans Canada between Oromocto and Jemseg:

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Wood Duck … notice the long crest at the back of the head …

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American Widgeon … a rosy breast and a white cap on his head …

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Mallards … notice the white ring around his neck and his yellow beak …

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Ring-necked Duck … a terrible photo … note the grey beak with a white ring, vertical white before wing and black back …

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There were also lots of Canada geese and a Blue Heron we scared up from a roadside pond …

 

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I am not a good photographer but that cannot take away from the thrill of seeing these birds every spring!

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Happy bird watching!

Jane 

 

 

Written by jane tims

April 30, 2018 at 7:00 am

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