Southern Magnolia planted in Paris

While visiting Isabelle’s Alma Mater, the Sorbonne University in Paris we happened upon some cultivated Magnolia grandiflora in large planters in front of the main entrance. Our American tree being showcased in a high profile location!

Sorbonne University

Visiting Isabelle’s family in the Paris suburb of Bussy-St-Georges we noticed a blooming Southern magnolia in the back yard, a cultivated specimen. The one flower is filling the yard with the pleasant scent. Hopefully it won’t jump the fence one day and become invasive.


We are at Susquehanna State Park next to Havre De Grace, Maryland. Bluebells (Mertensia virginica) is why we are here. The landscape is covered with them in a beautiful blue carpet. This spring ephemeral plant has a special place in our imagination of the cosmos and let me explain: They exhibit an exquisite beauty that is breathtaking and difficult to comprehend. The blue color is captivating, a sudden colorful world takes place after months of grey and drab landscapes. The plants themselves are so weak looking and fragile. Delicate. The pretty blue flowers are even more so. They last only a few weeks before collapsing into the earth they so triumphantly sprung from. The plants are colorful and lively, signaling the onset of Spring. The ephemeral nature of these plants resonates with the nagging question of eternity; such astounding beauty is eternal or is it ephemeral?
Seeing the fields of sky blue flowers below us makes us see the sky blooming at our feet, the sky emerging from the earth! The blue sky we dream for and desire is emerging from the darkness of earth, a place where we bury the dead, an unknown place. The Bluebells are emerging from the dark cemeteries of life, the cold unknown. The soil of the earth, an unpredictable and volatile place we must navigate as newly emerged life forms.
The Bluebells emerging from the darkness of the Earth’s soil are expressing the light and the brightness of the universe.

Enjoy the pictures! The last picture is a whole lot of Vultures waiting for us to die and collapse on the road we are traveling on. Pictured at the entrance to the Conowingo Dam.
We have two choices: be buried or cremated. What about being consumed by these fair birds? Surely we are not the first to present this as an option-we would at the Sanguine Root would hope!

At the end of our long day visiting the beautiful wildflowers of Spring we encountered the Vultures at the gate. We were stunned at their presence. The Vultures were beautiful and stunning but also creepy and haunting. We walked up to them for pictures and they smelled. We have never been so close to these birds.


We arrived at the preserve around 2:30. The Lancaster Conservancy volunteers have picked about 20 bags of garlic mustard! The conservancy had a table set up and they gave us a free pouch of purple cone flower seeds!

Susquehanna Trillium, freshly blooming!

Trout Lily

A panoramic view!

The weather was nice and sunny and it was around 60° with a light wind

Mertensia virginica




A view of the creek

A morphological display of the bluebells. The cliff in the background provides a nice dark backdrop to show off this plant!

The emerging fronds of a Christmas Fern

The Conservancy has done a good job of blocking off rogue trails that usually end up getting plants crushed. They also closed off the old road making for a more pleasant hike. There is also a lot of educational material and signage to help people discover different plants. I only saw one crushed Trillium very close to the pathway. In years past, we would see dozens. They are also giving a daily tour on weekends this month.