Yesterday I extended my search for early spring wildflowers to the Allegan Forest. Although this is the largest tract of open land in south west Michigan, I haven’t had much luck spotting wildflowers there. Virtually all of the land has been farmed in the past – maybe 70 years ago or longer – and that disruption of the soil is enough to finish off many wildflower species.
However, last year I found a few fading hepatica on the south side of a steep bluff along the Kalamazoo River. I returned there this year hoping to find more wildflowers – and to my surprise found a thriving population of blue hepatica.
The bluff drops about 70 feet from its peak down to the river – as measured by a GPS unit. The slope is pretty steep, but an old road is cut into the side of the hill, leading down to a flat area near the water. Probably an old boat launch, it is now barricaded and hepatica is even springing up along it. The road provides easy access to the flowers on the steep hill.
I had a very pleasant morning there, shooting the wildflowers as numerous Mourning Cloak and Question Mark butterflies flitted around in the air. It’s great that spring is finally back!