Early Spring

I took a walk through Washington Park Arboretum in Seattle…Spring’s beauty is here.














At the top of the stairs are Sword ferns (Polystichum munitum), an evergreen native fern that’s characteristic of the Pacific Northwest.

The unfurling green fiddleheads are Ostrich fern (Matteuccia struthiopteris). When I crouched down among them it was like being in a miniature forest. I just about ruined my boots in the muck!

The cherry blossoms after the bench photo are Nanking Cherry (Prunus tomentosa), native to parts of China. Its delicacy reminded me that hybrids may be spectacular, but species plants have their own beauty, often more subtle than the bright, beefy plants one sees at nurseries.

The twisted little unfurling ferns are Maidenhair fern (Adantium pedatum). One of my favorites, and how happy was I to find that they’re common in the woods here?

The white three-petaled flower is a Trillium (Trillium grandiflorum). It was my FOS. What’s that?  Well, birders call birds they see for the first time each year, like a swallow returning in the spring, their First of Season, hence “FOS”.

As a child in upstate New York I haunted the woods behind our house, sometimes finding wild trilliums – white and a few times, pink. I really wanted to transplant them to our back yard, but I found out they were disappearing from habitat destruction and over picking, so I let them be. They must be gone now – a computer bird’s eye view of my old house shows only a thin, poor band of woods between it and a newer development.  When I moved here last year I was thrilled to find wild trilliums (a different species but very similar)  regularly in the woods. It seems that respect for the wild comes more naturally to people here than in New York.

Along the stream, moss and Skunk cabbage (Lysichiton americanus) grow happily. In the east Skunk cabbage is white but here, its bright yellow color lights up the early spring forest floor. The eastern variety has a different smell to me. Plants here smell more fragrant and less “skunk-y”, but it’s a heavy, strangely intoxicating, almost-perfume-but-almost-unpleasant odor. I like it.

I don’t know the names of the other cherry trees I photographed.  They’re well labeled, but once again I was caught up in the excitement and forgot to check.  The Prunus genus include almonds and peaches as well as cherries, and the Washington Arboretum lists over a hundred different Prunus varieties growing in the 230 acre park – all within Seattle city limits!


It was still early

for cherry blossoms, and

it snowed a bit today, so I expect to

see more,

before the bloom is off

the branch

(but oh, the glorious, transient beauty of fallen cherry blossoms!)



  1. You took my breath away with this exquisite series of images. What a beautiful start to my day here in Sydney! : )))

    • Thank you – one of my favorite things about blogging is that I feel connected to people all over the world – it’s still Friday afternoon here, and you’re waking up in “tomorrow-land”, looking at my photos, and smiling. I like the way that stretches my mind. Thank you, Anne!

  2. Oh Lynn this post and the beauty that is Washington is killing me… a letter arrived this afternoon from UW’s admission’s office and I am eagerly awaiting my daughter’s return home so she can open it! She went straight from school to work and won’t be home for another hour and a half!!! Oh the waiting! In the meantime I will look at your post and its lovely images once more!!! 🙂

    • Torture! But I know you’re too smart to live through your kids, right? Still, if she gets in and decides to go, you’ll have such a perfect excuse to come out and see a magical place. I saw a group of U Dub (as it’s called here) kids running on the paths in the Arboretum – pretty good place to run!

      • She got in! Not sure she is going to go though. 😦 Got an excellent scholarship offer at Bama, hard to rationalize an extra $30k a year. But oh the trips from Seattle we could take! So, in that regards I guess I do live through her! 🙂 Visit her at school for a day and then head off to Alaska for 10 days! Works for me! 🙂

      • 🙂 And with my husband’s 50th bd and our 25th wedding anniversary next year sounds like a wonderful travel opportunity, dontcha think?!?! Time will answer all of today’s questions.

  3. Fabulous photos – you have such an eye for shapes. I love the curving steps – so graceful, and the bench detail. And of course, the flowers and foliage! A wonderful view of spring that is actually unfolding somewhere 🙂

    • Shapes are exactly what I was originally interested in, way back. Only much later did I think about color. So I appreciate that comment. Yes spring unfolds here, and it takes its time, which is a bonus.

  4. Lynn, I can’t totally figure out which name goes with which plant. What is the fourth from the bottom, covered in raindrops? As always, I love your photos; they’re truly magnificent and inspiring. I especially love that park bench and the ostrich fern. 🙂

  5. Oh sorry! That’s the skunk cabbage – you should find the white eastern type where you (used to) live if you go to a swamp in early spring – maybe next year. I’m glad you like the photos and I appreciate that you always take the time to tell me that. I was thinking while posting how different this is from where you are right now. Like 180 degrees! The world is a big place.

  6. My introduction to this post was via the Reader, which shows only the monochrome image of the steps. I liked the picture very much. The absence of colour drew attention to the composition – especially the perspective of the steps leading me into the wood, the vertical tree trunks and the contrasting textures of the vegetation. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that this was only the hors d’oeuvre. It’s another fine collection Lynn.

    • Why the Reader only showed the first image, I don’t know, that’s for sure! But I think you’re right, pulling most of the color out strengthened the look of the steps’ curve. Thank you & glad you enjoyed all the courses.

  7. These are fantastic! Such an explosion of life. That first one lured me all the way up those steps.
    Funny how paths cross in the blog world. I think I’ve seen you around before but I came here following a lovely comment you left on Lynne Ayers Sentimental Value post. Glad I did.

    • Thank you! Yes, I’ve seen your blog, too, and there are lots of “crossings” in this world, and plenty new things to see, too. I hope you’re getting nice spring weather in England.

  8. Lovely to discover you (thanks for jumping in at ehkstream!)
    I love the Trilliums as a FOS, too. But my hubby used to obsess over them. The local weekly paper would print the first one found in our area. Only they wouldn’t let the same person enter each year – I think you had to wait 3 years between. I’ve been wanting to catch a shot of the skunk cabbage, but haven’t wanted to scramble down the banks to the creek beds.
    Normally, I hate when folks use B&W as a sort of gimmick. I love color and see no reason to voluntarily go color blind, but your images made me realize there IS a place for it when it draws attention to a particular shape….
    Check out the Trillium I caught that’s just starting to bloom at: http://wp.me/pXX8J-22d

    • What a funny story about FOS Trilliums! I know what you mean about the skunk cabbage – turns out that around here there are quite a few places where you can get close without the muck & mess, but I can still mess up my shoes big time. I carry a spare pair in the trunk and then don’t bother to get it out, and then…oh well. I’m happy about the B&W comment – do you ever take all the saturation out of a photo just to see what it looks like that way? Thanks for the link, I love it!

      • The sad part about the FOS was that hubby died a couple of weeks before he would have been eligible to claim the FOS in 2009. So, obviously those first Trilliums mean a whole bunch to me. I’m hoping to go back to see if I can catch the one I posted in full bloom (if the deer haven’t eaten it.)

        I don’t do much post-processing, so rarely play with desaturating and such. I think colors draw me the way shapes seem to in your case. Glad you’re liking my stuff. I intend to check out more of yours, but finding the time is becoming more of a problem lately.

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