Friday, March 14, 2008

Yeah... what Stacey said!

Our tulip magnolia wasn't fazed by last week's snowfall.

It's out there right now lighting up our whole street. People keep stopping on the sidewalk to touch a flower or just stare for a minute. I understand how they feel -- after months of bare branches, we're all starved for color.

Of course, the tulip magnolia isn't a native tree, so this morning Rosa and I joined a few friends for a walk in the Old Forest to see what might be rustling around in the understory.

Red buckeye is starting to leaf out!

Trillium is (are?) popping up in the rich soil of the Old Forest. They haven't flowered yet, so keep watching the trillium this month. If you walk too fast, you might miss the small dark-red blossom that sprouts from the center of its three-leaf cluster.

The first mayapples are here already, greening up the forest floor with their little umbrellas. Mayapples look so tender and innocent, but they contain powerful toxins that have been used medicinally ever since humans discovered medicine. Several of these toxins, especially podophyllotoxin, are key chemotherapy ingredients today.

I can easily satisfy my need for color by looking out the front door at my beautiful tulip magnolia, but a walk in the budding woods is the only thing that can really wake up my winterized spirit.

I'll be guiding a CPOP hike through the Old Forest on Saturday, April 5, starting at 10am, so mark your calendars. Check back later this weekend for details -- we hope this will be the first of many hikes. But right now it's bedtime for baby Rosa, and she calls the shots.