mown        a moment        remembering thyme-leaved speedwell (Veronica serpyllifolia).





IMG_1646 (2)IMG_1630 (3)

IMG_1651 (2)

Around mid-March, hairy bittercress (Cardamine hirsute) started showing lilliputian blooms in the lawns and borders of Little Crum Creek,

IMG_1667 (2)IMG_1680 (2)

IMG_1639 (2)

multiplying, through April, long capsules of seed above its leafy rosette,

IMG_1907 (2)IMG_1909 (2)

IMG_2098 (2)

so that, by May, it’s ripening fruit might be ready to burst and launch a hundred-fold patter of seeds at the slightest brush of a stepping foot.



Here along our usually shady confines, Glechoma hederacea must compete with more aggressive plants like English ivy. 

So it flowers with the kind of charming modesty that inspires a name like  “hedgemaids.”

LCC 032 (2)LCC 029 (2)

LCC 003 (2)

But downstream of our usual vantage, Little Crum Creek opens onto a 20-acre lake created when the borough of Ridley Park was founded in the 1870s.

Surrounding the lake, an extensive lawn provides the little European species ample room to flourish.

And the plant’s aggressive spread might suggest its more common (though decidedly less florid) name of “ground ivy.”

LCC.b 134 (2)LCC.b 141 (2)LCC.b 142 (2)

But stooping for a whiff of minty-scented leaves sent from creeping stems might also put us in mind of more colorful names like “creeping Charlie.” 

And from the French guiller, meaning “to ferment,” the plant’s herbal use  in flavoring beer is specifically reflected in “Gill-over-the-ground.”

Surely the plant’s useful beauty, weedy though it be, helps explain its spread by settlers across North America.

LCC.b 150 (2)

[Images are sharper when clicked.]

By the calendar start of spring, copious crowds of leafy rosettes were already greening the streamside.

Also known as pilewort or fig buttercup, lesser celandine was introduced from Europe where Wordsworth celebrated its overlooked beauty and ornamental promise.

It is now considered invasive in Pennsylvania, reviled by many for diminishing the local diversity of spring ephemerals.

In fact, few, if any, flowering natives seem to penetrate its smothering profusion here in this part of the Little Crum corridor.

But soon its own brilliant florescence lightens the dark green space like a starry sky.

.100_3836edBcrop1 100_9614edA100_9782edAcrop3

Then, too bright to photograph in direct sunlight, one might shadow the flowers for clarity, outlining a constellation of our complicity in the natural character of our creeks.






Who will appreciate         

the rooting determination         

of a common lawn weed         

to flower in season         

where it can?