Spring Ephemerals 2017 & Garden Adventures

I took a walk around my apartment community after working on the garden this weekend, and some of the Spring Ephemeral flowers were up a bit early! My apartment community was built on an old farmstead, and in the border between the community and the other apartments next door is a narrow strip of old fencerow. Its only 10 – 20 feet across in most places, but it still whispers woodland to itself and is home to many Michigan wildflowers and several interesting feral plants that have continued growing long since the humans who planted them stopped tending them. These feral plants include: 2 apple trees, a pear tree, a sweet cherry tree, strawberry patches, black raspberries, raspberries, and various flowers such as: lily of the valley, daffodils, tulips, poppies, tiger lilies, periwinkle, and many more.

Here are some of the early bloomers I saw this weekend:


A surprising carpet of Blood Wort blooming in the underbrush. At the very bottom of the picture you can see the distinctive leaves of Trout Lilies, but there weren’t any flowers yet.


Blood Wort closeup


Spring Beauty was also carpeting the area.


Spring Beauty closeup


Vinca Minor in bloom – better known as Periwinkle!


The Cherry Tree is in bud!


Found this vine that had grown over a tree stump and looked creepily alive!


I have lived in my current apartment for 6 years, and I planted these daffodils right away. This is the FIRST YEAR they’ve ever bloomed!! YAY!



The woods were young. Scrub brush and poplars barely beginning to give way to young oak and maple. They were young in the season as well, barely there leaves giving the appearance of a fine green haze about the branches, but the bare bark of trunks and limbs still very visible. This morning I had walked across the moist crumbling earth of plowed fields to reach this patch of trees that stood a mile or so from my apartment building rather than face another soul sapping trek across the same stretch of concrete sidewalk. My morning walks had begun to feel as ordinary and barren as the rest of my life had become, and the instinct to simply run as far and fast as I could had overtaken me. Now here I stood, on the edge of farmland and a tiny forest of maybe five or ten acres. Better than blacktop at least.

I stepped across the thin margin of tangled grass and weeds between the field and the dense line of bramble and trees that began the woods. A surprising quiet filled the world. There was no path into these woods, but my feet found purchase and I ducked through the worst of the tangled saplings and feral raspberry canes. The cluster of trees ahead lacked the hallowed feel of really old forests, where the canopy is closed enough that the ground below becomes a leaf and fern covered cathedral floor. This fledgling woodland was still a mess of low branches, grasses, and early spring wildflowers. No space for a reverent stroll through natures establishment, this was a battle ground for young green things fighting for space and purchase.

I made my way through the best that I could, noticing in aggravation that I must have passed some burdock because the legs of my pants were already matted with burrs and nettles. As I stooped down to tear at the mass of dead seed heads, I was arrested by the sight ahead of me. Deeper into the woods, just near the edge of my sight, stood a mother deer and her fawn, both blindingly white, and their eyes were fixed on me. The instinct that drew me to the woods this morning roared inside of me again. Like a living beast it screamed that I must follow them, that I must reach the white doe and her new born fawn, quickly, before they escaped the world forever.


This was a prompt from my StoryWorld Fairy Magic deck that I wrote a few weeks back. I felt the prompt gave away too much to be put at the front of the story, so I’ve put all of the explanation here at the end instead. The card was The Fairy Deer, and the question posed was “if you follow the deer and her fawn, where will they take you?” The card was an immediate reminder¬† of the magic of liminal space, the area of space or time that is neither wholly one thing or another, and its power to drag us from the reality of our current existence into another reality entirely, just by crossing through. So this story is where The Fairy Deer led me on the morning I worked this prompt.