In the few and fleeting hours in the evening, after a landscapers’ work is done, there is little time in the spring and summer to spend on leisure. Even in the orange glow of dusk, I try to find a little time to take a bicycle ride down the trails along the Fox River with my husband. Even if we only make it 5 miles, and even if I have the trail memorized, it’s a great way to unwind. Since my one track mind is always on the radar for blooming plants, I’ve enjoyed taking a look at the spring wildflowers out this week along the path. Here’s a few pictures of some spring flowers you might notice. A great place to check them out is at Trout Park Nature Preserve near the underpass to 90 in Elgin, IL.
Calthus palustris or Marsh Marigold blooms along the creek in Trout Park. This can also make a beautiful edge to a backyard pond or pondless water feature.
Geranium maculatum or Wild Geranium has a dainty pale lavender flower and is very popular along the Fox River Bike Trail. It will work in partial shade and in moist woodland areas. A great idea for a client with a natural woodland backyard and lots of space to fill underneath tall trees. Another great spring bloomer for woodland gardens would be Virginia Bluebells which is just finishing flowering, and the mid summer bloomer, Woodland Phlox.
Trillium sesille or Trillium has a burgundy flower sitting atop three leaves that dots the bike path. As with the previous flowers it is found in moist woodland areas. Trillium can also be various other shades of red, pink, with various types of mottled leaves. Trillium, and the following plant pictured are called ephemeral flowers which are plants that have a very short lifespan of just a few month. After their spring-flowering, ephemerals die back into the ground until next year.
Enemion biternatum or False Rue Anemone. Can be easily confused with other woodland flowers like Rue Anemone.
Lonicera or Honeysuckle. This is a beautiful weed that makes the air sweet while pedaling along the trail. I don’t recommend planting it unless it is one of the cultivars. It is commonly a spreading weed in the understory of the woods and it can be a major undertaking to keep it at bay. Still smells great!