Spring green

A floret of green – the soft, delicate leaves of Pacific bleeding heart dotted with raindrops.

It’s that time of year when I go in search of the first buds and shoots that herald the beginning of another spring. Based on a Musqueam story I saw at the Museum of Vancouver, I headed to Musqueam Creek to look for fawn lilies. I found no lilies, but I did see lots of false lily-of-the-valley (tiny green spears poking up through the soil), indian plum, skunk cabbage, and the subject of this photo, bleeding heart. The foliage of bleeding heart must be one of the softest things I’ve ever touched, especially when it’s this fresh.

Bird sightings/soundings included: Anna’s hummingbirds, Swainson’s thrushes, varied thrushes, robins, pileated woodpeckers, flickers, some kind of wren (possibly winter?), bald eagles, black-capped chickadees, a house finch or two, and possibly bushtits. Musqueam Park in the spring is definitely a good place to hear a lot of spring-time bird song!

Signs of spring II

It may not look like much at the moment but in a week or so this will be a beautiful white fawn lily, one of my favourite spring flowers. There was no sign of any shoots when I was in Lighthouse Park a few weeks ago, but I was inspired to go looking for them again after I saw a similar photo from @plantexplorer. I also found a few salmonberry flowers down by the lighthouse, so despite our recent weather, spring is definitely on its way!

I was wondering how soon the fawn lilies would begin to poke up through the pine and fir needles given the very wintry winter we’ve had. Turns out they’re pretty much right on schedule (unlike last year when they were ridiculously early). I imagine I’ll be making a couple more trips to Lighthouse Park to catch their peak bloom, but I also want to check out another area to see if they’re growing there too as I have an indirect suggestion that fawn lilies may grow there too.

As soon as I started taking photos I immediately lamented not bringing my tripod. Bending over in the wet dirt (on a steep slope) trying to get a compact camera to focus on the right part of the green-on-green plant was an exercise in patience and frustration. I took a couple of dozen photos in order to get just 3 or 4 that I consider to have worked! After all, I can even set up the camera and just use my phone to control when to take the picture with no need to kneel in the dirt. Next time…

Purple penstemon

Purple penstemon near First Brother along the Heather Trail

We were running out of time on our foray up the Heather Trail so I jogged on to see if I could find any remaining patches of glacier lilies. I didn’t find any but I did find this perfect patch of purple penstemon (trying saying that five times fast!), a notoriously difficult flower to capture. Even better, I could get the shot with the ridge of the First Brother in the background, one of the highlights of hiking the Heather Trail. Alas we didn’t have time to venture up there this time.

Flowers and mountains

Flowers and mountains – the summer hiking season is here πŸ™‚

Who can resist the bright colour of Indian paintbrush against green foliage, blue sky, and white mountains? Another photo from my Wanderung hike up to Elk Mountain last Tuesday.


A perfect pair

A lovely pair of Fairyslipper or Calypso orchids – not exactly rare, but not very common either. Looking at the half-dozen or so places I’ve seen these flowers bloom, I think they only grow in medium-elevation, unlogged forest. I saw these two along the trail to Nairn Falls, with maybe about 15 in total – the most I’ve ever seen in one place. In addition to these little beauties, there was some lovely fresh cheery yellow arnica, and the first signs of wild ginger and Queen’s Cup. Spring is coming to the mountains!

Witch hazel

Winter blossom from witch hazel, the first cheery reminder that spring will be along soon, at least here in Vancouver πŸ™‚ Normally these bloom mid-January – maybe they’re late this year, or perhaps they bloomed on time and it just took me a fortnight to notice… Either way it always cheers me up when I see them.

I’ve been walking in to work as often as I can since the start of the new year, and I noticed these blooms for the first time just this week. How did I miss them before? I must have walked past this tree half-a-dozen times, and somehow had completely missed them.

I always like to see the unusual yellow filaments of the witch hazel flowers as they’re one of the first (if not the first) plants to bloom as the days begin to lengthen. Helps me make it through the dismal grey days of January.