Along the Crest, Crested Iris

Enjoyed another fantastic day at Shaw Nature Reserve.  Following my volunteering stint, I hiked through the dry glades and woodlands near the Meramec River, evaluating the Spring’s continuing transition in color.  Among the most vibrant and prolific today was Dwarf Crested Iris (Iris cristata).  Just another native to consider in your garden!

Spring Emergent

We’ve had an early Spring snow to slow things down a bit.  This time last year, Bluebells (Mertensia virginica) were in full bloom.  Today, I paid another visit to Powder Valley Nature Center (see previous visit), hoping to treat my Nikon to a photogenic feast of bluebells among the snow.  However, it seems that nature, so gloriously intelligent and constantly unpredictable, has decided to wait for the snows to pass.

Nonetheless, emerging bluebells (probably, since this was the location I found them last year) greeted me and encouraged me to be patient.

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Emerging Bluebells….I think.  I’ll know for sure in a couple weeks.

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First Visit to Shaw Nature Reserve

I visited the Shaw Nature Reserve, located southwest of St. Louis, today for the first time.  I was thoroughly impressed with the numerous trails, the varying terrain, and the abundant spring blooms.  Woodland ephemerals have popped up everywhere.  These are Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginica) and they’re prolific in the bottomlands at SNR.

Mertensia virginica

Mertensia virginica

Sure, tulips and daffodils are pretty, but they add minimal ecological value to the natural landscape.  Native landscaping offers  food and shelter for other native flora and fauna while tolerating nature’s whims with characteristic endurance.  If I had a lawn, I would supplant the invasive grass–effectively a desert of biodiversity–with large areas of natives.  It would provide rewards for local wildlife and for me–less mowing!