I´ve been yearning to go to forest since last week but the forest I used to go to since I was a kid literally wasn´t there any more. I had heard harvesters working some time ago but I had no idea that it was THAT old growth forest. Estonia is covered with 60 % of forests but only about 2 % is old growth forest, which provides the most habitats for wilf flora and fauna.
We always used go hunting hepatica flowers there in the springtime. On the sunny roadsides and in the glade, which warmed up first grew pink and purple hepaticas. I do not enjoy watching forest being chopped down but I totally disagree with clearcuts. After the work it looks like someone has thrown up there and it takes more than ages until the forest grows back. In fact the ancient forest never does as usually they leave the only couple of species of the weakest trees standing there.
I was very disappointed indeed but I was hoping that there might be some more flowers further down the road. I walked on occationally ducking into forest to see if there are some hepaticas yet blossoming. I saw a few ones here and there but I came here to see sinilillemeri(the sea of blue flowers) as we call them in Estonian. I passed another clearcut from last year and there between the forest and last year´s logging area I found that sea of hepaticas.
Hepatica (Hepatica nobilis)
Hepaticas are capable of growing almost anywhere and they cope well in alkaline conditions. They can be found in shady understory of deciduous forest(especially birch tree) but also near shrubs or sunny grasslands. In order to grow they need enough moisture and it is important to have cold period in wintertime.
As the seeds of hepaticas are tiny the main dispersers are ants. The flowers are almost bent to ground for the end of its blossoming. This way the ands can reach the seeds, which are covered with sweet nectar.
While I was searching for hepaticas I found someone else, a poisounous flower mezereon(Daphne mezereum), which is under nature conservation here. Pink creamlike blossoms with heavenly odour resemble Japanese cherry blossoms a bit. i´d love to come back here someday and have a picnic!
All bits of this flower contain toxins mezerein and daphnin. It is might not be a good idea even to touch this plant. Mezereons grow in mixed decidious forests but especially in beech, oak and conifer-mixed forests, also on grasslands occationally.
Netted iris (Iridodictyum)
They are native to Russia but not here. We just have them in the garden. Tiny blossoms look super beatiful but unfortunately they don´t flower for that long. But I like that they are not that choosy as spring crocuses if it comes to cloudy weather, when crocuses usually close their flowers.
So far I have spotted purple, yellow and blue irises in the garden. Netted irises grow well in well drained soils when it´s moist enough. They cannot stand waterlogged soil. They prefer sunny spots but do well in half shade as well.
Spring crocus (Crocus vernus)
The condition for them are quite the same as for netted irises. They are not native here in Estonia and grow just in the gardens, where they enjoy growing in the sunniest spots. Sometimes they grow on a patch where the snow has already melted away but the rest of the garden is still asleep.
What blossoms in your garden now?:)