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In bloom: Enjoy the signs of a new season

A blooming Indian plum in the West Hylebos Wetlands Park in Federal Way. - Margo Horner/The Mirror
A blooming Indian plum in the West Hylebos Wetlands Park in Federal Way.
— image credit: Margo Horner/The Mirror

By MARGO HORNER, The Mirror

It may still be cloudy and wet, but spring is blooming in Federal Way.

Hundreds of plants in the West Hylebos Wetlands are flowering, offering the first signs of the season change.

During a tour on Monday, Friends of the Hylebos restoration coordinator Hillary Kleeb pointed out new blooms and growth along the boardwalk.

Near the entrance to the trail, white Indian plum flowers stretched open.

“It’s like the first sign of life. It’s just a reminder that warmer days and longer days are coming,” Kleeb said.

The blooms aren’t the only thing that indicate spring is coming, Kleeb said. It’s something in the air.

“I just walked outside one morning and I felt more hopeful,” she said. “It just felt different.”

The birds felt different too on Monday. They were chattering and singing in the trees. A squirrel skittered along the path.

Salmonberries, elderberry, skunk cabbage, willows and red flowering currant are all blooming in the Hylebos. By April, the wetlands will be in full bloom.

April through May is the greenest time in the wetlands, Kleeb said. After that, hotter weather begins to dry out the plants.

Despite encouraging signs of spring in the wilderness, it may be some time yet before Federal Way residents see significant sunshine. The National Weather Service predicts that it will rain at least through the weekend. Temperatures are expected to remain around 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

Thermometers are likely to reach 60 degrees or above toward the end of March, said Johnny Burg, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service’s Seattle office. Rain usually clears up for the summer by late June, he said.

This summer is expected to be slightly dryer and warmer than usual as a result of the after-effects of La Nina, Burg said.

Contact Margo Horner: mhorner@fedwaymirror.com or (253) 925-5565.

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Nature:

Entrance to the West Hylebos Wetlands and boardwalk can be found at the Barker Cabin, located on South 348th Street between Pacific Highway South and 1st Avenue South. The park recently reopened its nearly one-mile boardwalk.

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