Tuesday, March 20, 2012

And Suddenly it's Spring.

During my first spring in the mountains I discovered a new plant.
Yesterday I walked down to see the new stone patio by the waterfall. There I was greeted by a most unwelcome welcoming committee. More about that later.

On the way slipping and sliding down the side of a hill (the steps up to the house have been torn out) I spied a tiny yellow flower.

At first, the leaves made me think it might be a member of the ginger family. But after checking out a few of my wildflower books it turns out to be a Halberd-leaf Yellow Violet (Viola hastata.)

Apparently the arrowhead leaves are reminiscent of a battle-ax type weapon used in the 15th and 16th centuries. I’ll have to take the historians at their word.

The humble violet has been celebrated in myths and literature from ancient times, a symbol of modesty and simplicity. Longfellow wrote that it “lurks among all the lovely children of the shade.”

Shakespeare described the violet as “forward” since it trumpets the awakening of the earth following winter. He also writes the violet is “sweet, not lasting. The perfume and suppliance of a minute; No more.”

So we should gather our halberd-leaf yellow violets while we may.

An uninvited guest on the patio was a (supposedly) harmless garter snake.

And oh by the way, the snakes are back, too.


Daricia said...

i just posted about halberd-leaf violet yesterday! aren't they pretty? my dog found a tiny snake the other day - we think it was a black rat snake baby - but it's the only one we've seen so far. i know we need them, but i don't particularly like to be surprised by them.

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