First Dandelion (oil on canvas 5 x 7in.)

7 April is cloudy and damp, with temperatures in the low teens.  We are finally geting our April showers after a very dry March.  Fred announced this afternoon that he'd found the first non-cultivated flowers blooming, and he led me to a curb on Mill Street close to Bishops Mills' main intersection.  Two bright yellow blossoms are opening on one of the Dandelion plants that root in the crack between cement and asphalt.  Some of the plants have broader leaves, but those with narrow, deeply incised leaves all show tight knobs of flower buds.  Taraxacum palustre blooms earlier than the common T. officinale, and here it is, blooming!  Palustre means marshy, but we also have them out in the limestone barrens of our "outback" old field, where conditions alternates between soggy and parched.

I decided that there being so much green to this subject, I'd balance it with either a purple or red underpainting.  The red stems decided my colour choice, and the result is electrifying!  The bits of orange litter are fallen leaves from the cedar hedge along the sidewalk.


  1. Canada: Ontario: Grenville County: Oxford-on-Rideau: Bishops Mills General Store at Mill St. 44.87282N 75.70097W. 9 April 2010. TIME: 1209. AIR TEMP: 7, light overcast, breezy. HABITAT: gravel/hedge/paved area around store building in rural village on limestone plain. OBSERVER: Frederick W. Schueler. Taraxacum palustre (Oldfield Dandelion) (Plant) Plants swept away by street-sweeper truck removing sand from the pavement with rotary brushes, so the painting, and whatever regeneration the plants achieve, is all that is left of this scene. Four blossoms had opened on the plant yesterday.

  2. 10 April: The plants along the curb are now recovering from the shock of being street-swept, and one Taraxacum officinale bloom was open this morning, though it had closed by 16h30 (this is the first bloom of this species seen here this year). The Taraxacum palustre Aleta painted seems to be recovering as well, and has buds which may soon be open.

  3. 11 April: the leaves still look like seaweed caught in a particularly strong surf, but there are 5 blooms open to about the extent the painted blooms were before the street-sweeper truck went by.

  4. Recording bud burst and first blooms, whether by camera or by hand, is an essential ingredient of ecological monitoring, which makes this painting and the accompanying narrative all the more interesting. Thank you for sharing it.


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