It may still be winter here at Honey Hollow, but some of the first signs of spring have sprung. By mid-February there are some plants that start peeking above ground, stirred by the lengthening days and the warming sunlight. One of the first plants to emerge looks like something from another world, the alien-like skunk cabbage!
Rising up from the mud along stream banks and marshes, the claw-like body of the skunk cabbage has some truly stunning colors for such an odd plant. Shades of green and red that ranges from maroon to almost purple, streak the early leaves of this plant. To make it even stranger, the skunk cabbage has an almost brain-like fruiting body hidden within its leaf. Next, we start seeing delicate clusters of snowdrops along the trails and drives.
Snowdrops are small white flowers that hang from stems like droplets of frozen dew, thus their name, snowdrops. Soon after that we start to see the return of animals who spend their winters in warmer places. Why, just the other day I saw my first red-winged blackbird.
These beautiful birds are easily identified by the red and orange markings on their wings. At your home you may see other plants beginning to sprout around your home. Soon, the purple and white flowers of crocuses will be blooming, followed by daffodils and their many shades of yellow.
My challenge to you this month is to get outside! It may be winter and cool and damp, but there’s so much beauty to see. Get out and see how many of these early signs of spring you can find! Take a walk in your neighborhood or hit some trails in a nearby park, see what’s out there!