Today is Sunday, August 20, 2017

Warm weather means watching for wildflowers

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By GEORGE ROBERTSON, M.D.

Boy, what a beautiful day we had this past Thursday! After what seemed like two months of near-freezing temperatures and overcast skies the sun broke out with a vengeance. It was so warm that I thought about taking off my insulated underwear and started looking at the old bicycle covered with dust sitting alone in the shed.

The wildflowers are now making their grand entry with Spring Beauties covering the hillsides and front yards. The Trillium foliage is beginning to spread out of its three little leaves after several months of dormancy in the cold ground, its resurgent energy coming from the sun power stored in its bulb since last spring.

Blood Root is opening its white flower and is usually one of the first spring ephemerals to bloom. It gets its name from the bright red sap that comes from its root that was thought to have healing powers by the mountain people.

If you see a yard or meadow covered in yellow, it is probably the Pasture Glade Cress which grows in solid sheets in the acid soil next to limestone outcrops. It sometimes shows up as white blanket of small flowers but this is the same species known to the botanist as Leavenworthia. The purple flower in the yard is Purple Dead Nettle and even though it makes your yard look like it needs mowing it will not get taller than 4 inches so you can just let it grow. It will be joined later by another purple one called Hen Bit. Not fertilizing or seeding your yard has some advantages: You have wildflowers coming up everywhere and you don’t have to mow as often.

Editor’s Note: George Robertson is a physician with Family Medical Associates, PC, in Lebanon.

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