The woods are really starting to come to life with fresh spring greenery , the first subjects I found were White Trout Lily (pictured first) these great little flowers are everywhere this year and the reason for their namesake is the pattern on the leaf looks like the patterns on a trout. They are a tough specimen to photograph because of the way the bloom seems to nod over making it nearly impossible to view the stamens on this subject.
Another flower in full bloom is the Hepatica, they also have taken over the canyons and gorges of Clifty Falls with their beautiful white and blue blooms, the biggest disadvantage of shooting them is any little breeze keeps them hopping for a good while…patience is a must with these flowers.
My last image is just of the evening light enveloping the blooms of some nondescript bush in the beautiful warmth of the early spring sunset. I tried getting out tonight but heavy thunderstorms and rain held me at bay, so tomorrow morning will be my next trip in.
Thanks for stopping by and taking a look at mt images, clicking on them will get you the best results for viewing, have a great evening !!
After witnessing the horrific damage and despair in our area it was nice to get out and hike earlier this week. Hoping to see few wildflowers poking their heads up out of the forest floor, and low and behold I have come across a few, and it look like this weekend things should really star to heat up !!
I hiked thru the gorge at Clifty Falls State Park here in Madison Indiana coming across mostly Hepatica and Spring Beauties, the green part of the plants of many other species are about ready to produce a bud. This time of the year is volatile though so any cold snap could push everything back by a few days, bit long term it looks like rain and warm temps the next week, which is perfect for wildflowers.
The image I am posting is the Common Blue Violet which according to wikipedia.. I know it’s long but I thought I might share it….
Viola (US /vaɪˈoʊlə/ and UK /ˈvaɪ.ələ/) is a genus of flowering plants in the violet family Violaceae, with around 400–500 species distributed around the world. Most species are found in the temperate Northern Hemisphere; however, viola species (commonly called violets, pansies or heartsease) are also found in widely divergent areas such as Hawaii, Australasia, and the Andes in South America.
Most Viola species are perennial plants, some are annual plants, and a few are small shrubs. A number of species are grown for their ornamental flowers in borders and rock gardens; the garden pansy in particular is an extensively used spring and autumn/winter bedding and pot plant. Viola and violetta are terms used by gardeners and generally in horticulture for neat, small-flowered hybrid plants intermediate in size between pansies and violets
Viola species typically have heart-shaped, scalloped leaves, though a number have palmate leaves or other shapes. The vast majority of Viola species are herbaceous, and a substantial number are acaulescent in habit – meaning they lack any noticeable stems and the foliage and flowers appear to rise from the ground; the remaining species have short stems with foliage and flowers produced in the axils of the leaves. The simple leaves of plants with either habit are arranged alternately; the acaulescent species produce basal rosettes. Plants always have leaves with stipules that are often leaf-like.
The flowers of the vast majority of the species are zygomorphic with bilateral symmetry. The flowers are formed from five petals; four are upswept or fan-shaped petals with two per side, and there is one broad, lobed lower petal pointing downward. The shape of the petals and placement defines many species, for example, some Viola species have a “spur” on the end of each petal while most have a spur on the lower petal.
Solitary flowers end long stalks with a pair of bracteoles. The flowers have 5 sepals that persist after blooming, and in some species the sepals enlarge after blooming. The flowers have five free stamens with short filaments that are oppressed against the ovary, only the lower two stamens have nectary spurs that are inserted on the lowest petal into the spur or a pouch. The flower styles are thickened near the top and the stigmas are head-like, narrowed or often beaked. The flowers have a superior ovary with one cell, which has three placentae, containing many ovules.
Viola flowers are most often spring blooming with chasmogamous flowers with well-developed petals pollinated by insects. Many species also produce self-pollinated cleistogamous flowers in summer and autumn that do not open and lack petals. In some species the showy chasmogamous flowers are infertile (e.g.,Viola papilionacea).
After flowering, fruit capsules are produced that split open by way of three valves. On drying, the capsules may eject seeds with considerable force to distances of several meters. The nutlike seeds have straight embryos, flat cotyledons, and soft fleshy endosperm that is oily. The seeds of some species have elaiosomes and are dispersed by ants.
Flower colours vary in the genus, ranging from violet, as their common name suggests, through various shades of blue, yellow, white, and cream, whilst some types are bicolored, often blue and yellow. Many cultivars and hybrids have been bred in a greater spectrum of colours. Flowering is often profuse, and may last for much of the spring and summer.
One quirk of some viola is the elusive scent of their flowers; along with terpenes, a major component of the scent is a ketone compound called ionone, which temporarily desensitises the receptors of the nose, thus preventing any further scent being detected from the flower until the nerves recover.
After that long copy I just wanted to let you know what a great time of the year we are coming up on and hopefully you can make the time for a hike and get out and enjoy the amazing display of color that is about ready to envelope the canyons and gorges of Southern Indiana,
Thanks for stopping by and taking a look.
Two months from now the woods and canyons that surround Madison Indiana will transform from the dark bleak environment that we have lived with for the last few months, into a display of color and fragrance that makes it hard to even believe that it is the same area that we live in.
I still believe that this part of Southeastern Indiana with it’s many waterfalls and unique geographic features is the most under utilized area for tourism in the Midwest, I have traveled and hiked some of the other destinations in the East and this area is definitely right near the top for natural beauty.
With the beautiful hardwood gorges and 25 waterfalls 30 feet or bigger, the day hiker could go afield for many days just to witness the natural geographic wonders that lie in our own backyard.
And every spring these tree lined canyons explode with a display of wildflowers that rivals even the beautiful blooms of the Great Smoky and Appalachian Mountains, the only problem is I may be the only person singing the praises of this hidden gem we live in, for me personally that might be a good thing but in terms of economic and tourism dollars it’s not so good.
Clifty Falls State Park puts on a few nice walks thru the park in the spring but the area around the park is definitely being underutilized and some sort of leadership from city and state government needs to step up and promote the beauty that surrounds us here in Madison.
But if local government can’t get the job rolling maybe it’s time for the people in the private sector to take it into their hands and get the ball rolling and then maybe it would get noticed by someone higher up in the food chain and then we could give an already beautiful and Historic Madison another piece in the economic game of tourism dollars !!
Thanks for listening to my rant and here are just a couple of the beautiful examples of the area we call home !
Thought I might share another photo, this time a wildflower from early spring, early spring wildflowers seems like an eternity ago now but here it goes anyway. I shot this beautiful little wildflower in Clifty Falls State Park near Madison Indiana along one of the trails that crisscross the park.
Blue Eyed Mary’s are one of my favorite wildflowers to shoot because of the beautiful blue color and also the small delicate structure of the plant make it a great subject as well. These wonderful wildflowers can usually be found in early spring along rocky creek bottoms and along gently sloping hillsides, they are very easy to miss as you hike the woodlots and canyon floors because of the very small size of this plant but once you find them their color alone makes up for their size.
This particular subject’s bloom was a bit larger then a pea and not an easy subject to photograph but after a little work I finally was able to bring out all the structure and color in this beautiful subject.
So if you ever get up to Clifty falls in the spring take the time to hunt for this little gem you will be glad you did, thanks for stopping by and taking a look, and as always click on the image for best viewing !!
BOOM…followed by an even louder thunderclap roused me from my warm conformable environment, sheets of wind and rain followed, I was now smack dab in the middle of a Southern Indiana thunderstorm !! But the only problem was I wasn’t home in my warm comfortable bed or on my couch but I was stuck underneath a rock outcropping in one of the deep canyons that make up Clifty Falls Sate Park.
For being stuck outside durng a heavy thunderstorm my shelter was actually a pretty comfortable place to be, I could sit and watch the storm unfold before my eyes and experience the whole ordeal from the relatively dry ground underneath the rock ledge !! The cool thing about the whole ordeal was there happened to be a big male turkey very close to my location that would gobble after every thunder clap which made the situation that much more enjoyable.
Now you might be wondering what I was doing to get myself in such a predicament, well photographing wildflowers is the answer to that question, finally after what seemed like an eternity of winter weather I was able to get out Saturday morning to shoot some wildflowers. And as you can tell by now I no sooner got into Clifty Falls State Park then all hell broke loose, I had just hiked down into one of the gorges when the storm snuck up on me and left me nowhere to go but under this fortuitously located rock outcropping.
After a long stretch of wind and rain I was finally able to venture out into the woods to photograph the native wildflowers that make their home in the Park. The spring season has pretty much been a bust so far but things were definitely turning around this morning, all around flowers were sharing their beautifully colored blooms for the world to witness, and it seems I had finally been in the right place at the right time.
There were many specimens to shoot and not enough time to get them all in, but I can tell you I tried real hard to shoot them all, I will post many of them later but the ones I spent most of this morning on were the Virginia Bluebells, according to Wikipedia…
The Virginia Bluebell (Mertensia virginica; also Virginia Cowslip, Lungwort Oysterleaf, Roanoke Bells) is a spring ephemeral plant with bell-shaped sky-blue flowers opening from pink buds, native to moist woodland in eastern North America.
Flowers with five petals fused into a tube, five stamens, and a central pistil (carpel) are borne in mid-spring in nodding cymes at the end of arched stems. Buds are pink-tinged, changing to sky-blue as they open. White flowers occur rarely.
Stamen and pistil are spaced too far apart for self-fertilization. The flower can be pollinated by bumblebees, but due to its funnel shape, bumblebees must hover, making the bumblebee a rare pollinator. Butterflies are the most common pollinators, because they can easily perch on the edges and still enjoy the nectar.In early summer, each fertilized flower produces four seeds within wrinkled nuts, and the plant goes dormant till the next spring
These are some of the most colorful blooms in the spring forest and one of my favorites to shoot, the hills that surround Madison Indiana are covered in these in good years and they make for quite a spectacular show when in full bloom !!
This image was shot just as the sun penetrated the clouds after the morning thunderstorms, I loved the water droplets and how they interacted with the morning light, it was just one of the many images I shot that morning and hopefully I will be able to get more the next few days. This is the peak time to be in the woods so if you get a chance try to get out for a hike at Clifty or anywhere else wildflowers grow…just make sure you check the weather report before you go !!
Thanks for stopping by and click on the image for best viewing !!