First flowers of spring

By Pat Gibson

This beautiful water color of the anemone was done by David Busch of Dripping Springs, Texas. His email is david@raindancewatercolors.com

and his web site is www.raindancewatercolors.com

He travels the arts and crafts fairs around central Texas.

Sometimes the anemone will fool you. It will show up along the road sides and the south facing banks and you will see them and say, "How about that, springs is here." But don't be foolish enough to go plant the garden. The anemone has been known to get lost in the snow or frost of a spring freeze.

The anemone is the very first flower we see in the spring here along Sulfur Creek. It will appear suddenly among the dead grass and dried weeds. It is a white, pale lavender, or purple flower on a tall thin stalk. It has a strange leaf like fringe on the stem. Folks who study plants call them bracts. They sometimes look like three pieces of fern tied to the stalk in an attempt to look like a bouquet. But they are so far down the stalk that it is only an attempt at a bouquet. The leaves on the anemone are more sensible. They will lie on or close to the ground so they don't get frozen as often as the flowers.

The leaves are flat and a little furry, with rounded ends that don't look anything like the bracts. The buds and the underside of the leaves are sometimes purple. That gives the plants a pretty exotic look, purple and green. The leaves look a little like parsley, but thicker. The flower of the anemone is pretty exotic when you look closely at it.

The petals are long with fringed ends. There are usually ten of them but there may be as many as twenty. They will open up and fold back till they are almost folding down. The center of the flower is a button like knob surrounded by a fringe of delicate thread like stems topped with reddish balls. When the flower is finished blooming, the little knob begins to grow into a seed pod.

The seed pod looks like a miniature green cattail. It breaks up like a cattail to, lots of very tiny seeds. Beginning sometime in February or even occasionally in late January, you can see the anemones all along the road sides and fields through out the Hill Country. They are especially thick where the rocks face south and are warmed by the winter sun. They keep blooming until March and April but by then they get lost among the multicolored glories of our spring wild flowers.

Around most of our urban areas there is a black, noisy bird who must think it is one of our year round glories. At least its behavior leads one to think that, but that's another story.

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