Saturday, April 4, 2009

Signs of Spring

With my time in Florida nearing an end, my mind is racing ahead to my return to Connecticut. Not only am I looking forward to connecting with family and friends, but also enjoying my favorite season.

I love to watch the early signs of spring, when dormant gardens spring back to life, when the drab world of winter is taken over by vibrant colors and songbirds, and a feeling of joy and possibility is in the scented air. Best of all, the longer, warmer days mean we can spend more time enjoying outdoor activities, including of course, picnicking.

One of my favorite spring activities is the wildflower hunt. I became fascinated by wildflowers many years ago when I visited Garden in the Woods located at the New England Wildflower Society in Framingham, Massachusetts. I was so awed that I went on a 6-week spring wildflower hunt, visiting over twenty state parks, preserves and nature centers in Connecticut, all dedicated to the preservation and enjoyment of these delicate and mysterious flowers.

Two of the 42 chapters in my day tripping and picnicking book, Cruising Connecticut with a Picnic Basket are devoted to this activity, which are best viewed from the last week in April through the first week in June, with the peak, most years, around mid-May.

The first day trip, the Native Plant Collection located at the Connecticut College Arboretum in New London, contains a separate wildflower garden with markers for easy identification. And, while there, check out the amazing 25-acre collection of native trees and shrubs. (

A more challenging hunt is The Botany Trail at the Flanders Nature Center & Land Trust in Woodbury. This one-mile trail is great for wildflower enthusiasts, although I first visited as a novice. Luckily, I had invited a friend who brought along three wildflower identification books! (

To view an amazing collection of photos from these and the other destinations in Cruising Connecticut, go to and click "Photos" on left.

Happy Spring!

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