Updated: Mar 27, 2018
The dark, sculptural blossoms of the skunk cabbage reached their prime weeks ago with the first big thaw, signaling the return of life to our land. Now, even under a cover of snow, crinkly blue nubbins of buds are clustering under broad, cold-purpled leaves. Bluebells... Mertensia virginiana... are one of the most delightful harbingers of spring that the Northeastern American woodland has to offer. You can almost glimpse a fairy flitting through the azure flowers carpeting our forested floodplains in April. I'm so grateful that seasonal floods make it impossible to develop a few hundred scrubby acres flanking the Monocacy river. Every spring, the melting snow rolls off the mountains and the river overflows her banks in a catastrophic way, uprooting trees and ruining parking lots. Without Mother Nature's annual upheaval, we'd never have all the glorious mud that we need to support our true treasures: frogs, worms, and thousands of wildflowers!