The Midwest’s wildflower spring of 2019


By John Ruberry

It’s been an unusual 2019 weather-wise, here in the Chicago area and the rest of the Midwest. The coldest temperatures in over thirty years. by way of the polar vortex, struck my base in Morton Grove at the end of January. In mid-April the second heaviest snowfall ever recorded in the region brought over seven inches of snow to the city. In late April a second snowstorm brought more measurable snow to the area.

Siberian squill

May brought more precipitation, much more, as Chicago set a record for most rain, 8.24 inches, breaking the one-year-old record of most rain in May. Rain fell on 21 days last month, tying the local record from November, 1985 for most rainy days in a month.

It’s been quite west in the rest of the Midwest too, which sadly has brought devastating flooding to Chicago’s southwestern suburbs, Iowa, Missouri, and Nebraska.

Large-flowered bellwort

Water of course is one of the necessities for life to prosper. And where I live wildflowers are abundant in 2019. And I’ve seen species in Chicago’s northern suburbs that I’ve never encountered until now. They include large-flowered bellwort, bloodroot, wild hyacinth, and cut-leaved toothwort. As with the economy, in nature when there are winners there are also losers. One of the winners, I believe, are ticks. I’ve never had to remove so many ticks from my legs after nature hikes.

I’m not going to dwell on the losers in the woods and fields near where I live, but I’m sure I learn about who they are soon.

Summer is here. I am eager to make more discoveries in 2019.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.