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Wednesday, May 8, 2013

May in Michigan, Michigan in May: Pure Heaven

Woods edge
After a long Michigan winter, nothing calls forth the joy of living like the month of May. In May small buds open to the sun, catkins unfurl, there is a green haze in the forest canopy but leaves are not yet large and thick enough to keep light from the forest floor, where wildflowers are abundant and riotously beautiful. Everyone searches for the first green, that of wild leeks, and then we strain our ears for spring peepers, and then we watch impatiently for the first trillium blooms, but trillium is not the first flower, nor is it the only one deserving of attention, so let's look closer and see what else there is to see. What catches your eye first? The trillium or the trout lily?

Flowery floor
Do you notice all the modest little spring beauties surrounding the showier flowers?

And what about those deeply toothed green leaves? Is there a flower to which these belong? Yes, it is the quiet, easily overlooked cutleaf toothwort, Dentaria laciniata, a member of the mustard family with a nice, sharp, spicy tang to perk up a spring salad. 

Toothwort -- yum!
None of this will last long, and there is raking and mowing and digging and manuring and planting to do, too, besides all the preparation for another bookstore season, not to mention reading and writing and visiting with friends, so it's a good thing the days begin early in May and last well into the evening. 

June is lovely, Will Shakespeare, I grant you that. But for utter Michigan perfection, give me May any time -- although it is probably all the sweeter and more precious for coming only once a year. 


Dawn said...

May has always been my favorite month. There is always such hope...hope for the vegetable garden and the flower garden and the lawn...hope for sunny warm days and camping out. Love May. Here's we are already a week into it too! Oh no!

Anonymous said...

Between yesterday morning and afternoon so many wildflowers sprang open in the yard. Nothing as big as your trilliums and trout lilies, but it was still amazing to see them all.

May is glorious here too in Nova Scotia. As you say, it is busy with so much to be done, but it's simply the best. said...

Lovely! Found you through Kathy's blog.