Wildflowers on the RailTrail

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The glory of the ferns

27 May

We drove to 10 1/2-mile road and parked to walk back toward 9-mile road.  The cooler weather and overcast skies helped to showcase the many ferns on the trail.  There were large stands of Royal Fern in the ditches, along with Sensitive Fern and Cinnamon Fern on the edges of the woods.  In the woods were great swathes of Bracken Fern.  As we got closer to the wetland near 9-mile road, the small wood fern appeared among the sensitive fern.  Along the trail closer to 8-mile and 7-mile roads, the Ostrich Fern and Sensitive Fern are dominant with the occasional Royal or Maidenhair fern.

All along the way were great clumps of blooming Columbine–the red and yellow “grannies bonnets”.  They are spectacular in bunches and this is a great year for their bloom.  The Wild Geranium is blooming in places and promises to put on more show soon.  The edges of the trail still have some wild strawberry and dwarf cinquefoil as well as the ocassional clump of dwarf yellow hawkweed.  Along the taller grasses is the solitary salsify or yellow goats beard.  Small colonies of Bastard Toadflax are beginning to bloom.  I saw one ox-eye daisy and a few small clumps of Fleabane. Early Meadow Rue is showing its chandelier flowers.  Blue Flag Iris is up and should be sending up flowers soon.

Brambles were blooming and ready to bloom, so blackberries and raspberries will be feeding small birds and mammals soon.  Most of the Dogwood has finished blooming, but the Alternate Leaf and Red Twig are still blooming beautifully.  the serviceberries are formed and starting to turn color and the black and pin and choke cherries are forming on the spent blossom stalks.  The maple and elm seeds have fallen along with the Oak flowers.  Pollen has been very abundant this year. The trees are pretty much fully leafed and beginning to shade out the ephemerals.

The promise of Black-eyed Susans and Large-leaf Aster shows in the large number of growing leaves.  What a wonderful time to walk the trails.  Swamp Milkweed is already rising above the ditches.

Here at home the Wood Poppy and Virginia Bluebells are done and the Wild Geranium and Canada Anemone are taking over.  The Wild Wood Phlox continues to bloom and has been joined by Golden Alexanders–which are also on the trails.  My May Apple are is full bloom and the stray Jack in the Pulpit is growing taller every day.  The tall red trillium still look great but the grandiflora and nodding are done.  Solomon’s seal flowers are turning to the small beadlike seeds and False Solomon Seal is finishing blooming.  Golden Seal has bloomed along with Shooting Star and Twin-leaf.  Maidenhair and Lady Fern are waving over the pond. It is a new adventure every day.  Enjoy!

 

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