First flowerings

Every year it’s the same. And every year it’s different. A frantic race from wood to hedgerow and back in pursuit of the year’s first flowers. Not those brazen all-year-round blooms that never fail, come wind, hail or snow, like the dandelion, speedwell or groundsel – although these too have their charms…

Dandelion (Taraxacum officinalis)
Speedwell (Veronica sp.)
Groundsel (Senecio vulgaris)

But I’m talking about those real first flowerings that signal a weakening of winter’s grip and the return of spring, bringing with it all that newly pulsating sap and greenness that make the heart beat that little bit stronger. Here in mid-February in the Abruzzo mountains at about 800 m a.s.l., those little crumbs of spring are still pretty few and far between. The very first bulbs are starting to emerge on the warmest of south facing rocky outcrops, while down by the river and along the ditches, the pussy willow catkins are starting to swell. But it’s in the turkey and downy oak woods that the real action is taking place, with the pioneer spurge laurel and stinking hellebore opening the dance, followed by primroses, snowdrops, violets and those other precious jewels of the season.  

Star-of-Bethlehem (Ornithogalum sp.)
Star-of-Bethlehem (Ornithogalum sp.)

For my Italian-speaking friends (or anyone wanting to translate into another language), I recommend DeepL translator available clicking here or also as a browser extension for Google Chrome.

Per i miei amici di lingua italiana (o chiunque voglia tradurre in un’altra lingua), consiglio DeepL translator disponibile cliccando qui o anche come estensione per il browser Google Chrome.