Of all the flowers that speak to me of Spring, Golden Saxifrage (Chrysosplenium oppositifolium) is the one that, when I see it in swathes on wet ground, makes me feel that the season is really in progress. And that is now. Yellow is the dominant colour of early spring flowers. Following the white snowdrops and preceding the bluebells the hedges shine with celandines, the banks with primroses and garden borders with daffodils. Compared to these Golden Saxifrage is a tiny flower that, in small patches, can easily get lost in the grass; but where it grows profusely such as the expanse I saw today on the woodland edge where a stream rushes down the hillside and creates a wet area by a rocky bank, it is covered with the starlike yellow-green flowers creating golden cushions of colour beneath the still leafless trees.
True, if you walk in the woods there are delicate white flowers of wood sorrel with astringent green leaves and also wood anemones nodding their yellow stamens in the breeze, and these are delightful. But in the places where water runs over rocks, in the muddy hollows, among the mosses and the liverworts, the Golden Saxifrage - much more common than the other saxifrages of the mountains - seen burgeoning as I saw it today, is the expression of the still cold Earth and her freshets and water brooks running colder still, but showing a colour that hints at the warmth that is to come.