City Walks — Peeking Out

Sprunging Commencing

Daffodil Shoots
Daffodils starting to peek out

Winter Flowers

It’s still cold, with temperatures on most days bouncing back and forth around freezing. For the most part any flowers you see are long dead, like these following ones. The gardeners have wisely left them in place, which gives insects and their eggs a place to overwinter and often provides wildlife with emergency food.

Wilted Hydrangea flowers
Hydrangea
Crepe Myrtle seed pods
Crepe Myrtle Seed Pods
Rose Hips
Dead Rose Petals and Rose Hips

Flowers Sensing Spring

However, like the NOT of a few days ago pointed out, spring is coming. Plants are responding to the longer days and the slightly warmer temperatures and they are sending up sprouts and flower buds. Here, iris leaves are emerging, although they are still small (note the oak leaf on the right for scale) and they are showing some signs of cold damage with withered tips.

Iris Shoots

Below you can see star magnolia buds growing bigger. Star Magnolias are very early bloomers, and it’s not uncommon to see them in bloom during end of the winter snow flurries.

Star Magnolia buds.

February Blooms

And although it is only February, some flowers are already showing up, having evolved to monopolize any pollinators who rouse themselves during thaws.

This Lenten rose is living up to its name and pink/purple petals are just starting to open right above the ground in the run up to Mardi Gras.

Lenten Rose

These snowdrops are showing up right on time. Because they aren’t native to the US, they often spread only as new bulbs divide, instead of by seeds from pollinated flowers.

Snowdrops

Witch hazel is also a winter blooming flower. Because they are native, they must have pollinators, but it’s not completely clear which insects are out and about often enough to do the deed.

Witch Hazel

Winter jasmine occasionally gets confused with forsythia, since it is a small yellow flower growing on long branches. However, as the name makes clear, winter jasmine blooms much earlier than forsythia, which waits until the first days of spring to bloom. Forsythia blooms just late enough to find plenty of pollinators, and will produce plenty of seeds. Winter jasmine usually depends on human intervention or else new shoots growing off of existing roots.

Winter Jasmine

And finally, winter heath is another import which can start blooming in January, completely out of sync with the bugs who might fertilize its flowers.

Winter heath
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4 Comments

    • These crocuses were along a brick wall facing the sun which was probably holding and radiating a lot of heat and getting them out early. Other places I know there are bulbs weren’t showing anything yet.

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