Elizabeth A.S. Brooke

Crafting, traveling and everything in between.


Conifer Collection, National Arboretum

On our way back toward the parking area at the National Arboretum, we swung by a portion of the Conifer Collection. We spent most of the time in the Gotelli Collection of Dwarf and Slow Growing Conifers. This is about where the rain started drizzling and it drizzled off and on for the rest of the day.

Conifer Collection

Dwarf conifer collection

 


J.C. Raulston Arboretum, Raleigh, N.C.

J.C. Raulston Arboretum is a nice park to take an early morning stroll. There were lots of robins, cardinals and other birds singing from the trees as Chris and I strolled through the gardens, checking out the various shrubs and trees planned along the walks.

Pups are not allowed, so Sydney had to wait in the car. Don’t worry, it was a very brisk morning so there was no danger of her overheating. Plus, we never leave her in the car for very long. This was a quick visit.

Because the local police department was meeting at the facility, we had to park along Beryl Road. There’s a nice entry way from the roadside, so you don’t have to walk through the parking lot (though it’s really a small parking lot so that doesn’t really matter).

Chris really liked the well kept the grounds. Everything looked fresh and well-maintained.

I liked how well each of the species were labeled and included the native growing ranges of each of the plants. The park’s lath house and information on it was interesting. This is where most of the plants are kept until they are hardy enough to be moved out into other parts of the property. Some plants are kept there indefinitely.

Since it was still early in the year, most of the plants were not in bloom or even had leaves. We headed toward the magnolia garden to check out the blooms. Fact: lots of magnolias bloom before they get their leaves.

I would enjoy coming here to relax early on Saturday mornings.


More info on Beaver Dam Trail


A friend wrote and asked for more details about the Beaver Dam Trail, Hillsville, Va. This is the trail that Chris, Sidney and I frequent the most as it is in the middle of town.

The trail is about 2 miles long and runs from Beaver Dam Road to behind the Carroll County Governmental Complex on Pine Street. You can also continue your walk across Pine Street to stroll along Main Street and visit the downtown merchants.
Beginning at the Beaver Dam Road end of the trail, there is ample parking across the road from the trail head. The trail is mulch, so not that great for wheeled transportation such as bikes and wheelchairs.

The trail, unlike the other end of the trail which I’ll discuss next, is level and makes for a nice stroll along side the Beam Dam Creek, horse pastures and wooded lots.

If you are a nature lover, there are plenty of opportunities to see wildlife and plants. As mentioned in a previous post, Chris and I have spotted several type

s of birds, butterflies and plants. There have also been many sightings of deer, turkey and groundhogs. One Carroll County resident has also claimed he spotted a black bear a couple of years ago.

Among Chris and my favorite bird sights are king fishers, cedar waxwings, scarlet tanagers and blue herons.
There is an a

bundance of fritillary butterflies along the trail as well as whites and blues. Last summer was a wonderful year for yellow Eastern swallowtail. Once crossing one of the several red metal bridges that hang over the creek, we were surprised to see a knot of these yellow and black winged insects mudding, or soaking up nutrients, from the creek bank. You should have seen the butterflies fluttering around and crawling over each other. It was just beautiful!
Here is a picture of these butterflies mudding at a different location in the area earlier this year:
Plants include may apples, cardinal flowers, flame azaleas with gorgeous or
ange blooms, joe pye weed, rhododendron, sassafras trees (Chris’ favorite), ever
greens, cucumber trees and jewel weed.
Here is a picture of a flame azalea taken  earlier this year: 
After about a mile, the trail traverses the Hillsville Police Department and Carroll County Sheriff’s Department’s shooting range and former Hillsville Sewer Plant property. The old holding tanks for sewage are still standing and now serve as staging grounds for straw used by the town.
Curving around this open area, the trail then becomes gravel and steep. It curves up and around Magnolia, a manufacturing facility. The trail is closed off from the plant and a horse pasture with chain link fences.

Not much wildlife save for the horses, birds and pine trees in this area. But there is a bench at the top of the first hill to rest and catch your breath before climbing the next hill.

The next stop and over the second hill, you’ll find yourself behind the Carroll County Wellness Center, the town’s local gym. The trail winds around the edge of the parking lot and once again becomes paved. It headsup a grassy hill overlooking the wellness center and heads toward what’s known as the Carter Pines, a stand of trees that was planted in the 1930s, and the Carter Pines Community Park, which is basically a picnic shelter and a granite Community Honor Wall.

Cutting through the stand of white pines, walkers can see a 1924 hydraulic water ram system (listed on the National Register of Historic Places) and undergrowth that provides perfect shelter for birds. Alongside the water ram is a newly constructed deck for bird watchers to catch a glimpse of various winged creatures.

The trail begins a steep climb after leaving the Carter Pines. There’s a wet land area on the left and many blackberries and devil’s walk stick plants along the path. The trail comes to the back parking lot of the county governmental center and circles around to the left of the building and ends on the other side of Pine Street.