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Spring has Sprung
About North Georgia

by Mary Coeli Meyer, Ph.D.exclusively for About North Georgia
Other pages on About North Georgia by Dr. Meyer
Spring on Kennesaw Mountain
Toadstools or Mushrooms
Precursors of Springtime
Spring Has Sprung
Dr. Meyer has a CD available for those who want more information:
Wildflowers of North Georgia

It's raining outside. The dog is running through the puddles with abandonment, hoping that a squirrel will inadvertently cross her path. I, in the meantime am waiting - waiting for the rain to stop so that I can resume my treks to the woods without damaging my camera. There is, however, a good side to this wetness. It is spring! The flowers have arrived - the ferns have put forth their fiddleheads and the birds are nesting. It is a time to rejoice and suck up the now pollen-free air.

I gathered some of those fiddleheads the other day, thinking that I would have them for an accoutrement to dinner. Hmmm. Must be the wrong kind of fiddleheads, they tasted like an old piece of felt. On the other hand, the curly dock is up and tasting just great. After washing the lovely long leaves, I simply sauté them in a pan for a minute until they have wilted. They have a mild sourness to them and remind me of spinach.

The other thing that I truly enjoy is mouse-ear chickweed soup. From the get-go it is total enjoyment. This chickweed has tiny little white flowers upon which to gaze before chopping the entire handful of plant to a fine mince. I'd say about 1 cup of chickweed to 3 cups of chicken broth will do it. Sauté the chickweed with a bit of onion, add the chicken broth and bring to a simmer for about 5 minutes. If you have an emersion blender, puree the contents of the pot and voila! Serve. If you don't have an emersion blender you can eat it the way it is. To doll it up a bit, you can also add heavy cream. No matter how you do it, its a wonderful soup -- springtime in a bowl.

Garnishing the walkways these days are the golden forsythia bushes. To me, they look like streaming beams of sunshine. They make wonderful garden plants as they spread with virtually no help from the brown-thumbed gardener.

The white dogwoods are hiding at the edges of woods and look like little butterflies moving heavenward. Is there anything more delightful? Dogwoods are usually out by Easter, which is so apropos. It has been said that the dogwood used to be a tall tree and was used as the wood for Christ's cross. This so pained the tree that God, in His goodness, made the tree short and twisted so that it could never be used this way again. And, to remind Christians of this the dogwood blossom is there to remind us of the Crucifixion. The center resembles a crown of thorns; the rust stained tips of the petals are to remind us of the nails in Christ's hands.

We are quite fortunate here in the Atlanta area that our dogwoods have not have been afflicted by the anthracnose that is infecting the wild dogwoods in north Georgia and elsewhere. It is also a reminder that to take trees, or any plant, from the wild and transplant them can be dangerous to local kinds of flora. This is one of the quickest and most unwitting ways to spread plant disease. So a good rule of thumb for any wanna-be gardener is to buy landscaping materials from a nursery. It may cost something up-front but down the road, it costs a whole lot less.

Finally, it has to be spring. The ladybugs have arrived. I found this one hiding in the planter that I over wintered on the deck. This lovely little insect comes in several varieties:, 7 spots, 9 spots, 9 spots without spots , no spots at all, and this one here - 17 spots. There are at least 5000 varieties of ladybugs worldwide and they are all to happy to dine on the aphids that suck on the roses, the hibiscus and other happy little flowers in our garden. More interesting yet, ladybugs don't fly if the temperature is less than 55 degrees Fahrenheit so, you know when the weather has warmed just by spotting a ladybug in flight. I can't think of anyone I know who doesn't love a ladybug. It must be a residual part of our childhood memory that is emblazoned on our soul.

Ladybug! Ladybug!
Fly away home.

Wildflower CDEditor's note:Author and photographer Mary Coeli Meyer's first CD will help anyone and everyone interested in the wildflowers of North Georgia. They are arranged by color to make it easy to find the particular flower you have discovered (Ordering information)
Other pages on About North Georgia by Dr. Meyer:
Spring on Kennesaw Mountain
Toadstools or Mushrooms
Precursors of Springtime
Spring Has Sprung

North Georgia Naturally
North Georgia -- it's a natural! From outdoor adventure to our natural history, About North Georgia covers the area with in-depth articles, photos, and insights into those great, little-known "secrets" of the area.

Article Links
Precursors of Springtime
Spring Has Sprung
Spring on Kennesaw Mountain
Toadstools or Mushrooms

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