3 April 2021
As I mentioned five days ago we had lovely warm weather in late March but now it has snowed on April Fools’ Day and dipped well below freezing in early April. Before the freeze I walked in Schenley Park and at Cedar Creek in Westmoreland County to see the flowers.
Above, the delicate pink flowers on this non-native ornamental tree won’t survive the frost. Fortunately most native wildflowers will do just fine.
Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis) blooms early in the spring but is naturally cautious about exposing itself until sun shines on the plant. In these three photos, taken 31 March at Cedar Creek, you can see how the flowers are tightly closed in the morning (10:26am), begin to open as the sun hits them (11:12am) and are fully open in full sun (11:35am). The Botanical Society of Western PA schedules their walks for 1:00pm to take advantage of this behavior. They will be at Cedar Creek today.
Sharp-lobed hepatica (Hepatica acutiloba) also closes at night and opens in full sun. The flower stands tall but it takes effort to find the sharp-lobed leaves.
Cedar Creek is famous for snow trillium (Trillium nivale), a very hardy plant. Its flowers remain open after they bloom.
On the last day of March I found box elder leafing out in Schenley Park.
And then it snowed and I was out there in it. The last snow of the winter is not as much fun as the first one.
Soon we’ll see what the cold has wrought.
(photos by Kate St. John)