Arctic Buttercups; or a Preview of Things to come

Connectivity between camera and Mac was not the only issue on the recent trip; connectivity between Mac and Internet was just as big a deal. So it has been a while. Kodiak was beautiful on the sunny days, which bookended my visit. In between, it rained, snowed, sleeted, melted and repeated, making for rather messy walking. No good shoes at these meetings…

The Tundra Garden remains asleep under its snowdrift. Since the snow gets so deep, and the plants are so minute, I have yet to solve the problem of what to do to get winter interest in the garden. Given that winter lasts 7 or 8 months, this is a conundrum I would like to solve. The snowdrift changes, of course, as snow falls and is whipped away by the winds. As they bend around the building, they carve the snow into truly fantastic shapes; troughs, improbable-appearing overhangs, layer cakes of different shades of white. None the less, something besides snow would be nice as a change.

Since this is a gardening blog, and it will be a while before the Tundra Garden does anything this spring, I thought maybe people would like to see some picutres of what will be appearing in a couple of months. The first flower to really make an appearance is the Snow Buttercup (Ranunculus nivalis). The first picture is it in bud. In the next picture the flowers are starting to open.

There is another buttercup which can be found around Barrow, the Dwarf Buttercup (Ranunculus pygmaeus Wahlenb.) which is reportedly circumarctic. It is very petite, even for a tundra flower, and the petals are relatively smaller than those of the snow buttercup, giving quite a different effect. The color is the same, a clear brilliant yellow that just grabs the eye, especially after months of white. They start just a little bit later, but they are in bloom together, and finish about the same time.


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