Monday, May 9, 2016

Springtime blooms in our Region

Taken from my passenger side, along the Mississippi 
This area is part of the Driftless region or often we hear, Coulee Region.  I thought the term Coulee odd, the only reference I had previously was related to the  Chinese coulees who worked building the western railroads back in the 1840's in CA.  I learned here the Coulee is the bluffs along the Mississippi.  From Wikipedia, here is a summary of: Driftless Area or Paleozoic Plateau is a region in the American Midwest noted mainly for its deeply carved river valleys. While primarily in southwestern Wisconsin, it includes areas of southeastern Minnesota, northeastern Iowa and extreme northwestern Illinois. ...Retreating glaciers leave behind silt, clay, sand, gravel, and boulders called drift. Glacial drift includes unsorted material called till and layers deposited by meltwater streams called outwash...Overall, the region is characterized by an eroded plateau with bedrock overlain by varying thicknesses...the river valleys are deeply dissected. The bluffs lining this reach of the Mississippi River currently climb to nearly 600 feet (180 m). In Minnesota, Karst topography is found throughout the Driftless area. This is characterized by caves and cave systems, disappearing streams, blind valleys, underground streams, sinkholes, springs, and cold streams. Disappearing streams occur where surface waters sinks down into the earth through fractured bedrock or a sinkhole, either joining an aquifer, or becoming an underground stream. Blind valleys are formed by disappearing streams and lack an outlet to any other stream. Sinkholes are the result of the collapse of the roof of a cave, and surface water can flow directly into them. Disappearing streams can re-emerge as large cold springs. Cold streams with cold springs as their sources are noted as superb trout habitat. 
Flowering tree at the Y

But enough about the topography, what I want to share today are some of the beautiful blooms around town. I think because we have four seasons, that spring is all the more appreciated and living here, each year as the green reveals and the blooms start, I cannot be sure if it's my favorite season or if I prefer summer, or fall. One of my friends said today, "gotta go thru winter to really know spring." Perhaps that's the key, even if there is sunshine in winter, we miss the green and blooms. This has not been as wet a spring as last year, and some blooms are later some earlier, but the show of more flowers daily and the wafting scents of the lilacs, apple blossoms as we work out doors cannot be beat. The reddish and pinkish flowering crabapple trees are abundant around town and so lovely right now. However today we are enjoying a spring drizzle and rain predicted for a couple days, so most of the flowers will give way to leaves only within a couple days. Walking amidst and by these spring blooms all around town, up the hills renews one's soul when walking.

Two homes down, almost to the end of our cul de sac,
 starting our hike around

Downtown La Crescent, along the highway,

Red bud tree starting

Along Elm St, main drag. One of the few
fences around.  This homeowner has
cultivated mounds of  phlox

One shrub which I became fond of as the first to show it's blooms in early spring in Northern CA was the flowering quince. Oddly, that is uncommon here but one home along Elm has a flowering quince, which I am thrilled to see each year. I do not know why these are not grown locally. I know that I do miss the dogwoods that flower in PA this time of year, the local dogwoods are nothing like the PA dogwoods. There is a shrub locally that I actually laughed at when someone told me it was a dogwood, but then I know the real thing. 

The only flowering quince I've found locally

Flowering crabapples at elementary school

Nature's artwork on a stump

The fungi above caught my eye. This time of year many locals go out into the woods to hunt morel mushrooms which are a rare delicacy. I have not engaged in that activity because I would not want to pick poisonous mushrooms. But those who find them often sell them to be transported to Chicago and New York where the finest restaurants serve them; they get a good price, $50 or more per pound. I rely on someone sharing with me. I had never heard of morels until we moved here and frankly, yes they are good sauteed in butter, but to me not any better than other 'shrooms.

Massive old Weeping cherry &
   flowering crab apple
May time walking, anything lovelier?
Finally I share the lilacs, wish you could smell them. The white's I call Betty's Whites. They are down the block from us, planted by Betty, an elderly lady who still lives in her big home and tends her flowers. Although she tells me she doesn't do near the lawn work that she has in the past. Well, she's ener. titled at 89, she hires someone to mow fo her, but like me she trusts no one else with her flowers. Gardeners live longer, maybe it's being outdoors in fresh air and sunshine, maybe it's the physical activity required or the enjoyment when the results are seen.  
Betty's Whites
Our lilac hedge

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for talking me along on your walk, Pat. Many years ago, my parents had 2 lilac bushes by the side of our driveway and to this day I can recall their sweet fragrance.