Spring Pushes Through

Fragments of last year’s Clematis vine still cling to the post.

But the Hellebores are up.

The first fiddleheads, hidden inside a warm, protective covering, have broken through the ground.

Early daffodils shout at the sky,

or nod gracefully.

The strangely named Edgeworthia chrysantha pops its yellow globes on leafless twigs,

and Spring zephyrs rustle the bamboo into a tizzy.

Photographs taken on 3/5/13, at Bellevue Botanic Garden, Bellevue, Washington.

For the botany nerds or otherwise curious, Edgeworthia was named after a Brit named Edgeworth (too predictable an explanation, right?). He’s described as an amateur botanist, and he lived when England’s wide rule brought ample opportunities for any subject inclined towards plant exploration, as long as they had the means. As an administrator stationed in Punjab, I guess he did.  An internet search reveals that his diaries are in an Oxford library; four accomplished botanical drawings of his reside at the Missouri Botanical Garden in the U.S.  If I could access the diaries, I’d happily while away a few hours leafing through them.

Commonly called Chinese Paper Bush, Edgeworthia is native to China and the the Himalayas; the bark was used for paper. It grows comfortably in much of the US, opening fragrant blooms in late winter or early spring.

I first came to know it from a specimen at the Snug Harbor Botanical Garden in Staten Island, a borough of New York City. I was struck by its peculiar form – it tends to grow into a spherical shape, and with its stick-like branches with round, dotty buds-turning-to-flowers, it looked comical to me. Not a graceful plant, but its oddness draws one in. To a plant grazer like myself, that’s fine – I’m equally drawn by the odd, the graceful, the big, the small, the plain and the fanciful. Bring them all on!


22 comments

  1. Lynn, I love the Edgeworthia chrysantha! Thanks so much for the tidbit of botanical history. Your sepia photo of the Hellebores is beautiful, as are your fiddleheads and daffodils. Thanks for brightening my day. 🙂

  2. They’re all good and interesting but I particularly like the clematis, the hellebores and the bamboo. The clematis is about lines, tones and textures.The quiet verticals of the wood provide an effective contrast with the swirls and squiggles of the plant, and the shadows contribute nicely to the abstract pattern.
    The hellebore picture heightens our awareness of form and shape, made more apparent by the reduced palette.
    The bamboo is sheer joy – created by the shades of green, the play of light, the quality of movement, the general feeling of playfulness!

    • I’m glad you like the bamboo – I think it may be a stretch for people who like more typical pretty flower pictures (not that I don’t love those, but I’m trying other things too). Your reaction to it pleases me to no end – it’s what I was trying to capture – bamboo is so full of movement. Thank you!

    • I know you have more extremes in your weather than we do here. That must make it more of a treat to start seeing them. It’s going to take a while to get used to the evenness of temperatures here. Winter never gets as bad as it did in NY, and spring changes seem to happen more gradually here than there. Should be a good thing, just a bit disorienting!

      • We certainly do have more extremes here…and yes, it is quite a treat when Spring does make it through the cold. I don’t know that I’m still adjusting, as I’ve been here going on three years now, but I am still marveling at what I see…it is such a contrast to the desert where I had lived for so long…so yes, I understand that state of being a bit disoriented by the weather and seasons…. It seems that you’ll probably enjoy the changes….


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