Sunday, March 9, 2014


It's still there. Up in Inwood. 

Just like it was when I walked in the big fat snowfall, four weeks ago (to the day).

I have never known a New York winter where the snow stays around like this.

I've pushed back my first spring botanical walk by one week, to March 29th. Definitely colder than usual.

Spicebush buds have appeared, though. If you scratch the twigs you smell the orange-zest scent.

Apparently awfully good with slow-cooked possum.


On the higher ground on thick leaf litter, snow had begun to melt, revealing field garlic.

What is this perennial? Already pushing out new growth. It is quite possible I ask every year, and promptly forget. I am my father's daughter. In some respects.

By the time this post goes live said father either will have, or won't have, finished the Cape Argus Cycle Tour. 105kms. Lots of hills. He's 81. Stent, more or less one working lung, and a pacemaker.

Anyone know the plant?

There was a kayaker

And a Frenchman.

As my boots got wetter and wetter I realized how unconnected to the seasons we are, even as I fancy I observe them minutely. I should have known not to wear my leather boots. I should have known that weeks' old snow would not simply evaporate neatly, but would dripdripdrip away, leaving puddles and slush and mud holes. But we don't know this. Not in the city. The woods are another country. Spring thaw is just words.

My boots are now stuffed with paper and waiting for an oiling.

The oldest woods on Manhattan island, these. Perhaps the only woods, as Central Park's are manufactured.

I liked the grey and tan and white.

One day, there will be green.


  1. Hi Marie,
    I like guessing games and I guess that plant is a columbine. Typing this I realize with your vast knowledge of plants a columbine would be on your radar. Oh Oh Oh how about Dutchman's Breeches?
    I hope two guess are permitted! :) What I love about your blog Is the fact I get to visit more than one "country"

  2. Quite strange to read you have snow and cold, when here it's a sunny 17 deg blue skies and everything! Should be the other way around!
    Hmmm... anenome?

  3. Oh bless my tired eyes! Typo!! Anemone...dear, dear... :)

  4. I second the columbine guess. Canada Columbine.

  5. With those leaves I would have guessed some sort of Geranium species.

  6. Geranium robertianum? Know here in UK as herb Robert..

  7. My guess was columbine too or errrr geranium?

  8. Yes, looks like stinky Bob.

  9. I, too, thought Herb Robert (my garden is plagued by it, bleaghh), but it looks a little too fuzzy.. Geranium another thought..

  10. Vince is lookin' good, glad to see.. As always, he ushers in a healthy splash of vibrancy.

  11. I am sure it's herb robert common in england or it's proper name Geranium robertianum supposed to be good in the healing of cancer so maybe not a weed (as I thought) love your blog..... Mary

  12. The consensus on the plant's ID seems to be herb Robert (Geranium robertianum) which is a bit embarrassing, as you'd think I'd know it. The Plant Identification group on Facebook also delivered the herb Robert verdict... I think I've been conflating Erodium cicutarium and herb Robert in my head. Tsk.

  13. Hello! I just stumbled upon your blog and am in love! I have a question that I just can't crack-- we have window boxes in most windows in our apartment. But the bedrooms have only one window so when summer comes and we put in air conditioners (bedrooms) we are at a loss as to what to do with the window boxes. Have you seen any smart solutions to this? We need a way to put plants on top of a.c.-- some kind of structure. If we put right on the a.c. it is too hot for both. Something that straddles the a.c. unit. Does this make sense? Any suggestions welcomed!

  14. Marie, I was thinking more along the lines of something in the buttercup family, like meadow rue (thalictrum), buttercups or columbine or perhaps greater celandine (Chelidonium majus) which is in the poppy family and has kind of hairy stems. It's nice to see something green though, here in Maine we don't even have the brown yet, except in some edges where the snow plows got a little too aggressive!

    1. Funny you should mention the Chelipodium majus, as a plant growing right beside this one (not pictured in the post) is/was in fact greater celandine. I even mixed them up, thinking they were the same thing. I'll check back on it periodically and we'll see what happens. Not Aquilegia, or Thalictrum....

    2. I'm on the edge of my seat ;)


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