On Wednesday, the weather being fine, we got in the car and drove to Love Creek. Love Creek is a large nature preserve about 30 miles away in neighboring Cass County. Because it’s so far, we’ve only been there a few times. Our last trip dated back 4 or 5 years.
Why go at all? Love Creek is special because it’s so big. The patches of flowers are big, the blooms of the flowers are big, the trees are big. The landscape is rugged, with the creek winding around through it in deep gullies. Trillium grows in open fields on its slopes. It was here, many years ago, that we first saw the woodland poppy and blue-eyed Mary.
We worried we might be too late for the ephemerals. Woodland flowers finish blooming as the trees leaf out, and locations inland are often “further ahead” of the lakefront, a microclimate with cooler and wetter weather. The leaves overhead were just beginning to form a dreamy green veil.
Just as we were turning back to head for the car, we saw several woodland poppies blooming. Their large yellow flowers gleam in the shade, above the distinctive felt-like foliage common to every poppy.
We also saw a beautiful green insect on the path. I thought it was the infamous emerald ash borer, the Asian beetle that’s eaten to death hundreds of millions of American trees, but an expert informed me that it was a harmless native, the six-spotted tiger beetle. A happy ending.