Around here–and probably around anywhere in the Northern hemisphere not covered with asphalt–May means wildflowers. Yes, like that childhood riddle, except that here May’s bringing more showers than April. My walks lately have been interrupted by…
Larkspur (with Death Camas)
not to mention
Spotted Coralroot orchid, in its own ray of sunshine
Oh–and the salmonberries!
Not as delicious as you’d hope–but who cares?
But this month I also love to notice and give praise to a subtler kind of new growth…the kind that puts BOTH the “ever” and the “green” into “Evergreen State.” I’m talking about the fresh, new tips of our conifers. Now, pine trees make you suffer all sorts of pollen-clouds to get up close and personal with their newborn bits, but firs? Fir tips you can fondle.
Softer than you can imagine! (Also edible to more than just deer, though some might dispute the idea)
And hemlocks…well, their tips are just an adorable mini version of the firs.
Not to forget our non-coniferous evergreens: the noble salal. You might focus on their honey-sweet, bell-shaped blossoms…but I’m looking at the bright, baby-soft new leaves.
Aren’t they sweet? Stop looking at the flowers.
Of course no forest looks truly LOTR-fantastical without ferns of some kind, or all kinds. The type we have around here don’t start as fiddleheads (thereby saving themselves from human over-consumption), but they do stand out–if not UP–as cutely floppy, gawky adolescents:
“Let’s be fronds.”
The most amazing new bit of green May growth to my mind, though, is one of the least visible: the mosses. On today’s walk, I was noticing one of my favorites turning slightly more golden, thinking, “Yeah, almost midsummer, time for these beauties to be dying back,” when I looked closer, and–whoa. Check this out:
Rated “M” for Mature
Fruiting thimgamagigs! Right out there for all to see, shameless! Gorgeous! Fresh! New! Woohoo!
Gimme an “E”! “V”! another “E”! “R”! Gimme a “G”! another “R”…!
OK, you get it. MAY we be green. MAY we be evergreen. MAY we be happy.