This was the week SW Michigan turned green.
The grass is ready for the first mowing. Some ambitious people have already mowed.
The leaves on the trees and bushes have started to unfurl except for a few stubborn late-leafers like the oak trees.
This picture was taken at the entrance area of the Kalamazoo Nature Center.
Yesterday my friend Luanne and I spent almost two hours in the Nature Center's Beech/Maple forest enjoying the spring wildflowers.
It was a beautiful, sunny 60 degree afternoon at the peak of the woodland wildflower bloom.
By the middle of May there will be no sunlight in this woods. The woodland wildflowers have a very short time window to flower, gather some sunshine and energy, and reproduce.
Right now, the end of April, there are acres and acres of delicate woodland wildflowers blooming. We had a great amateur naturalist time identifying them with our Newcomb's Wildflower Guides.
Wild blue-purple violets are my favorite flower. There is no way to reproduce their rich, royal color in a picture.
At the Nature Center, the violets are mixed in with all the other wildflowers instead of having a patch of their own. In this picture a clump of violets is growing with Spring Beauty.
Spring Beauty is very common in SW Michigan. It will even grow sparsely in an Oak forest, like the one we have across the street from our house. Every spring I have a few Spring Beauty pop up in the yard where, no doubt, the birds have dropped the seed.
This is Blue-eyed Mary growing with Spring Beauty at the Nature Center.
During our walk we saw a naturalist sitting on a hillside in the middle of a large patch of Blue-eyed Mary. She told us she was doing research on Blue-eyed Mary pollination. Her job for the day was to sit there and record the insects that visited the blooms.
I want a job like that.