Sunday, May 27, 2018


redtrillium270Things are about to get a little flowery.

Nope, not the prose - hopefully not, anyway. Instead, the scenery is about to burst into colour.

Mid-April to mid-May or so is my favourite time of the year. Following a long, dreary winter like this past one (even if it wasn't particularly harsh), the first hints of fresh colour, anything from the fragile first green shoots to the dazzling yellow of a daffodil or the purple of a crocus, is like a feast for the eyes.

Most people are familiar with the early flowering plants, both wild, domesticated and those that have run wild in a semi-feral state.

Some of those include favourites of mine, many of which I can find fairly easily. Snowdrops, the not-so-delicate white flowers, are among the first to peek up through the snow. Coltsfoot, similar in colour to a dandelion, is another. Then there is the skunk cabbage, which produces enough heat to melt the snow surrounding it.

Years ago, my late mother-in-law planted a wide variety of wild flowers on a small hill next to my driveway. They've run wild since then, blossoming into a wide variety of colours from white to pink to yellow to purple. I have no idea what they are, but they are a spectacular and welcome presence early on. Luckily, they also seem to be nearly indestructible, and require no 'maintenance' whatsoever. They handily survived the snowstorm during the first week of April, and are just fading now.

My real favourites, though, come in May with the advent of the trilliums. The Meaford area is an amazing spot to see them, and some of the best spots aren't too far out of the way.

I've had a renewed interest in trilliums after living out of province for nearly three years, in a location where they didn't grown. If you go for a walk, most woodlots will have a growth of them, but sections of the Bruce Trail locally can be truly amazing.

I'm not going to divulge my favourite spot, which my wife and I call the "trillium trail", although it's not at all difficult to find and readily accessible via the Bruce Trail in the former Sydenham Township.

While I love the typical giant white trilliums that can make the forest floor look as if it is still covered in snow, my real passion is for the red trillium, or Wake-Robin. My favourite trail is absolutely strewn with them, and I never tire of visiting it to see them.

I've always seemed to have had a knack for finding good locations for them. For about a decade, I lived north of Wiarton on the Bruce Peninsula, in an area that was absolutely infested with them.

Ironically, it took me some time to discover that small numbers of them grew on the property... it really does pay to look down sometime.

I'm also still hunting for the elusive painted trillium, which also occurs sporadically in the area. I'm determined to find some on my own, rather than following someone else's discovery. Hey, it's a good excuse to go for a walk in the woods!

As I think about it, I'm longing for May.


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