Wildflowers on the RailTrail

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The spring flowers are here!

03 May

Visited mile 9 of the trail near the Salt River bridge.  This area was scoured with a winter and spring flood.  It has always had large numbers of Dutchmen’s Breeches and Trout Lily and this year is no disappointment.

The Trout Lilies are blooming where the sun is warming them.  On the other slopes it will be a few days.  In the shadier areas, like near the Coles impound yard, they are up but not ready to bloom yet.

The Dutchmen’s Breeches are in full bloom, especially near the bridge.  All these are on the steep slope to the drain and Salt River, so you have to get near the edge to see them.

There are some Bloodroot blooming as well.  Not in the volume we had last year, however.

The Spring Beauties have started to bloom among the Dutchmen’s Breeches.

Meadow Rue and Monarda plants are emerging and getting taller in preparation for blooming in late May and  June.

The Wild Strawberries are blooming where the sun hits them, especially near the asphalt where it is warmer.

Early small violets are blooming occasionally.  The trail has variable bloom times due to differences in shade and slight differences in climate due to the very slight elevation changes and the surrounding drains, creeks or mature woods.

In my wildflower garden, the Hepatica continue to bloom.  The earlier bloomers have sent out new leaves and the flowers are gone.  Rue Anemone is up and budded and Spring Beauties are ready to bloom.  The Mayapple are up tall and the nodding or white Trillium are blooming while the Large Flowered, Yellow and Red Trilliums are up but not ready to  bloom.

In the flooded area of the floodplain, the Marsh Marigolds are blooming and in the wooded areas, the Bellwort is blooming.  The Virginia Bluebells and Wood Poppy are leafed out and growing and the Trout Lily are leafed but not blooming yet.  Twin Leaf and Shooting Star are ready to bloom and Golden Seal has sent up the first leaves. Labrador Violet is blooming in the hill garden, among the foreign Hellebores and primroses.

You should be able to see all of these at Dow Gardens during the month.  Also, Chippewa Nature Center has areas with great wildflowers.  The early flowers are usually a little later at Pine Haven, so they should be starting to bloom but should have a longer period of accessibility.

I love these short time blooming early wildflowers.  They are like gems on the otherwise empty looking floor of the woods and trails.  Get out and experience the beauty of these small miracles.

If you aren’t sure what to look for, search for the flowers on this website or other wildflower websites shown in our resources page.  There are many fine handbooks as well.



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