Friday, May 31, 2019

Sweet with May

The apple blossoms were on the trees, and the hedges were sweet with May.
(Anthony Trollope, Framley Parsonage)

~ ~ ~

May was really quite rainy and grey, but when I look back at my photos, I see mainly sunshine and flowers. A lot of flowers. But that's a good thing, right? :)


One Saturday early in May, a friend invited me over to see the trillium blooming in her woods:

These are Large-flowered Trillium, a protected species that may not be picked or dug up (they can, however, be purchased from reputable nurseries). My friend is lucky enough to have several patches of them growing wild, and we had a pleasant time walking through the trees from one clump to the next.

Sunday Ride

The next day I took a bike ride, in which I finally saw the marsh marigolds I'd been anxiously awaiting:

I also saw apple blossom, serviceberry, pussytoes, and ducks (there's a certain poetry in that phrase; in fact I rearranged the photos in this collage so I could say those words in just that order):

Apple blossom, serviceberry, pussytoes, and ducks :)

Riding to Work

This spring, I've been riding to work as often as the weather allows. I can't think of a better way to start and end a work day than riding down country roads, seeing trains and red-tailed hawks and curious cows heavy with calf:

What a treat to stop and sniff the wild plum blossom, then continue home under a sky like this:

Cloudy Sunday Walk

One Sunday in mid-May, when skies were grey and threatening, I walked to the prairie restoration project, passing scores of violets on the way:

(Happy sigh. I love violet time.)

The prairie restoration project was full of green and growing things: sticky chestnut buds, lichened trees, and sprouting lupine:

A sandhill crane stalked majestically at the edge of an adjoining field:

I saw other birds too: blackbirds singing in defiance of grey skies, and a mysterious bird of prey perched in a tree:

Cloudy days can be lovely too. :)

Mid-May Ride

In which I climbed down to a marsh's edge to photograph some cheery marsh marigolds and vivid green skunk cabbage, and nearly stepped on what I later found out was a morel mushroom:

Around a corner and down the road, my favourite May wildflower was in bloom:

Jacob's Ladder or Greek Valerian

The Jacob's Ladder was a little thin this year, but as beautiful as ever.

The Flower Parade Continues

A week later came a day so brilliantly sunny that the wet grey days preceding it seemed like a distant memory. Birch trees shone under sapphire skies, violets opened their arms to the warmth, and happy ants nibbled on... on... what is that white flower? (The prose comes to a crashing halt as the blogger pauses for internet research. Clickety-clickety, tap-tap-tap. Okay, I think it may be wild strawberry.) ...And a happy ant nibbled on wild strawberry blossom:

The first Golden Alexanders and wild geranium were blooming, and a faded barn slept like a cat in the sun:

Dame's Rocket, slightly early this year, made its first vivid appearance:

Memorial Weekend

I never know what to call the day before Memorial Day; suffice it to say that on that Sunday we went to church, came home and ate a lovely breakfast, after which I fell into a deep refreshing sleep (having been sick for several days the week before), and awoke ready for a long and leisurely ride.

It's hard to beat a sunny Sunday ride in May, especially with the added pleasure of knowing that the next day is a holiday.

Wild honeysuckle was in full bloom, scenting the air with sweetness:

I saw dogwood blossom, and wild calla lilies growing in a marsh:

I stopped in a little park to eat a snack and look up at the sun shining through the trees:

Down the road was a noble oak, with wild turkeys feeding at its base:

Barns and sheds and flowering crab added to the joy of the day:

I passed a large patch of flowering spurge, some with unusual orange blossoms:

On a hillside grew dainty fringed puccoon, and nearby a clump of mysterious asters with large blossoms and fleshy, hairy stems:

At the top of the hill, a favourite Memorial weekend sight - a fence decked with a row of flags:

A few miles later, I passed a happy herd of cows and calves in a green hill-pasture:

Then flew down the hill, around a curve, and past a favourite barn:

Also seen on this ride - pollen cones on pine trees, and bright-red velvety young oak leaves:

When I got home, Mr. M was just setting out on a short ride, so I joined him (and captured a rare double shadow shot):

Mid-Week Evening Ride

In which I see a fawn and the fawn sees me:

The Last Day of May

I thought my May photo album was complete, but when I rode to work today there were fresh wildflowers along the river trail, just begging to be photographed.

Yarrow, Birdsfoot Trefoil, Spiderwort (oh what a glorious purple!) and Penstemon:

Humbler, but no less beautiful, were these tiny yellow cinquefoil, clouds of starry chickweed, and snowy Canada anemone:

What a lovely finish to the month.

How was your May?


  1. The flowers! How lovely they all are! I was astonished by the calla lilies! Never knew they were wildflowers I have just begun seeing them in gardens here, I have always loved them in England! Hope your June will be as pretty as your May!

    1. Thanks Kay! I was surprised to see the calla lilies too. It's a marsh I pass often, and I don't remember ever seeing them there before, but they were so profuse, they've obviously been there for years. When I looked up "wild calla lilies Wisconsin" I found several mentions of them.

  2. Oh my dear, what a wonderfully refreshing read this has been! Thank you so much for posting, I have enjoyed every bit of your news and the Flora is so beguiling. Do tell - what are the flowers in your lovely header?

    Sorry to know that you have been unwell but I think you have recovered by now?

    1. Thanks TA - I'm so glad you enjoyed the post! The header flowers are Serviceberry, which is one of the first wild trees/shrubs to bloom every spring. I have a mental map of all the serviceberry trees on my regular cycling routes and watch eagerly for the blossoms to appear. :)

      I'm better now, thank you. It was an annoying virus, rather like a cold but without the copious noseblowing. :) I miss the iron immune system I used to have when working in a pharmacy....

      Hope you are well!

  3. Thanks so much for this beautiful post, Sue! I am amazed by all the different varieties of wildflowers you saw in May, and I admire the barns and trees, wildlife and lovely countryside and shadow photo as well. My last post was focused on May flowers also...such a wonderful time of year for us :) xx

    1. Thank you Gracie, and you're welcome! It's such a treat every year to see the flowers come back - like greeting old friends who have been gone for the winter. May definitely vies with October for Most Beautiful Month. :)

  4. Such beauty surrounds you my friend. Gorgeous photos. Enjoy your week.

    1. Thanks, dear Mere! Hope you and all your boys are well. :)

  5. Oh how I love seeing your countryside and the flora and fauna. That round-hipped barn with the stone foundation is fan-tab-u-lous! What a treasure. I'm glad you and your Mr. M got to ride together. Thanks for the wildflower identifications. ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

    1. I'd never heard of a round-hipped barn before - thank you for that term! We do have a lot of great barns around here.

      Hugs back! :)

  6. Your knowledge just astounds me. Im going to have to send you some photos to label for me?!!!!
    My May was generally good....the good: Fireman's birthday was lovely and we celebrated a few times that week. My mothers anniversary of her death was quiet and peaceful this year. I got to help my friend send her mothers ashes down the river in ZION national park. I sent tulip petals with her. The trip to zion was glorious. But family continues to be very stressed in May. My heart ended heavy this May as we help our family discern their next right thing in their lives. Can you tellI ve been listening to Emily P Freeman's podcasts :The Next Right Thing? Oh seeds also sprouted and wintered over plants are making their transition to my bedroom porch area to greet us each morning with flowers.

    1. Aw shucks. *blushing* It's all these years of looking up flower names. Some of them have stuck. :) But by all means send me your flower photos if you like! I enjoy a good flower puzzle.

      Zion sounds amazing. I'm so sorry to hear that things have been stressful for your family. I hope you'll all find a clear way ahead.

      Yay for sprouts and flowers!

  7. May was unusual cold therefore I didn't ride my bicycle as much as I wanted to. But if it is cold I get awful pain in the ears that won't go away for hours. However, I liked the rain thinking of last year, which was so dry. The more rain in May the better for July and August. But with the first of June, summer is here. :-) All the best, Regula

    1. Yes, rain is good. I keep telling myself "at least there's no drought".

      I'm sorry about your ears - that happened to me this year for the first time. I went for a bike ride on a very cold day in March, and got a bad earache that turned into a sore neck. I think I must be getting old. :|

      Now that it's June, happy summer! :D

  8. You are so lucky to be able to ride your bike to work through this lovely countryside! I love your attention to all these little flowers along the way. I'd like to believe they feel your love and smile as they see you going by the next time.

    1. What a sweet thing to say! Thank you. :)

      I do feel so blessed to live and work where I do. It's a real treat to ride to work.

  9. Lovely flowers and some great bird shots. What a treat to see a sandhill crane.

  10. This was wonderful, Sue! I enjoyed seeing all the gorgeous flowers, and thanks for identifying them. It had been bugging me what a certain flower was, and I couldn't find it ~ duh, Greek valerian or Jacob's ladder. I remembered the name as soon as I saw it. So thank you! And I had never heard of pussytoes before, although I've surely seen them. I thought about studying botany at one point, but then I took Geology 100 ... Thanks for sharing your wonderful rides and countryside!

  11. May was mostly cold and rainy here, with some damaging wind. Thankfully, only the garden took a hit. The house stood strong.

    I saw that Dame's Rocket on OUR walk last week.

    As always, your photos are gorgeous. You certainly do live in a beautiful area.

  12. Beautiful signs of spring where you live. Isn't this the most marvellous time of the year?! Fun to see a double cycling shadow with your husband!
    May here was mostly cold and sometimes wet. Now it's warming up by the day!

  13. You certainly know your wildflowers! Love your photos also. The barn photo is awesome. Would you mind sharing what kind of camera you use?

    1. Thanks so much for your blog comment; I'm so sorry it took me this long to get back to you!

      I use a Canon PowerShot Elph 330 HS - it's just a little point-and-shoot that's several years old now. It takes really good closeup photos, which works for me because I love to shoot flowers. :)

  14. That has got to be one of your best photo album posts to date! You had flowers before us, and you were riding before I was able to get back on my bike, and your photos make me want to rush outside, even in the dark, and just wait until the sun comes up!!! What beauty in your world!

    1. Thanks Deb! May was pretty nice (when it wasn't raining).

  15. Wow your photo's are beautiful I feel like I could actually reach out and touch those flowers everything looks so fresh and lovely. xx

  16. Hello! I am looking forward to meeting you and Kathy later in the month in Janesville
    I am curious about where you live. I grew up in Beloit, and I'm thinking you must live in south-central Wisconsin. You can email me at
    I love your photos. You have a lot of talent!


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