Elizabeth A.S. Brooke

Crafting, traveling and everything in between.


Easter Wildflower Hike 2015

Though Sydney has had a sore knee for the past several weeks, we managed to go on our annual Easter wildflower walk last week. Since she’s still having trouble walking, we choose a short, easy trail — Rock Run Loop — at Bernheim Arboretum & Research Forest. The 0.5-mile trail is located in Bernheim’s forest and follows along a small creek.

We didn’t see many flowers, but we did see a trout lily, which we didn’t see that often in Virginia. Below are the flowers:

Cutleaf Toothwort

Cutleaf toothwort

Rue anemone

Rue anemone

Trout lily

Trout lily

This weekend we wanted to see if we could find any wildflowers at Iroquois Park. We were pleasantly surprised. Below is some of what we found, including Jack-in-the-pulpit, which we’ve never seen before.

Bloodroot

Bloodroot

Mayapples

Mayapples

Jack-in-the-pulpit

Jack-in-the-pulpit

Spring beauties

Spring beauties

Young Jewelweed (Touch-me-nots)

Young jewelweed (Touch-me-nots)

We miss seeing the Dutchman’s breeches, wild columbine and showy orchis we could easily find in Virginia, but we’re looking forward to seeing what other new flowers we can discover in our new community.

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A sunny, anniversary walk

Saturdays have become our Sabbath, our day of rest. Last Saturday was our anniversary, so we decided to take a long walk after missing a couple of days due to rain. We went during a break from painting the wheelchair ramp in front of our home.

At Devil’s Den, we saw yellow Eastern tiger swallowtails, fritillaries and several blooms. There were several plants we recognized that did not have blooms yet. The plants we saw included showy orchis, lady slippers, Mayapples, dwarf wild iris, rue anemone, geranium, trillium, bellwort, cutleaf toothwort and bloodroot.

Showy orchis

Showy orchis

A bloodroot leaf (left) and cutleaf toothwort.

A bloodroot leaf (left) and cutleaf toothwort.

Trillium

Trillium

The leaves of dwarf crested irises.

The leaves of dwarf crested irises.

Lady slipper leaves.

Lady slipper leaves.

Many new four-wheeler trails have, unfortunately, been created in the woods. That means there is less places for the trilliums, orchids and other wildflowers to bloom. You’d think people would have more respect for a nature preserve, but they do not. It’s very unfortunate. In years past, the hillside would be covered with trilliums. It was an ethereal sight.

We also visited the Hiwassee end of the New River Trail and saw squirrel corn! It’s the first time I’d ever seen them in person. It looks very similar to Dutchmen’s breeches, except it is round at the top. Great end to the weekend.


Easter wildflower hike

We took our annual Easter wildflower hike last weekend. For the past six years, we’ve spent a few hours Easter Sunday on the Austinville section of the New River Trail State Park.

With notebook and pen, Newcomb’s Wildflower Guide and water, we look for now-familiar flowers and identify new ones. I’ve been looking forward to this for weeks now, especially since this will be our final Easter walk on the New River Trail. This year, we left Newcomb’s and the notebook at home.We were too tired from painting the ramp in front of our house, so I captured what I could with my point-and-shoot Kodak camera.

The recent cold snaps didn’t hurt the plants as much as we expected they would. Many of the cut leaf toothwort, Dutchmen’s breeches and wild columbine blooms had fallen victim to the cold, but some of the stragglers were budding or in bloom. The weather was perfect — sunny, but not too warm.

In addition to the blooms, we saw a black Eastern tiger swallowtail, a comma or question mark and a female mallard.

Here are some of the plants we found:

Dutchmen's breeches

Dutchmen’s breeches

Wild columbine

Wild columbine

Bloodroot

Bloodroot

Bellwort

Bellwort

More violets

Violets

Violets

More violets

Star chickweed

Star chickweed

Hepatica with a spring beauty bloom

Hepatica with a spring beauty bloom

Ginger

Ginger

Virginia waterleaf

Virginia waterleaf

Early Mayapples

Early Mayapples


Fern Valley, National Arboretum

The area called Fern Valley is filled with meadow and prairie plants. The trail also winds through a small wooded area, but we did not walk there. This was a beautiful garden to start our tour of the gardens. The garden had cattails, rose mallow, cup plant and other flowers and grasses. It was very enjoyable!

Here’s just a few photos:

Fern Valley

Bridge in Fern Valley meadow

Rose Mallow and Bee

A bee working on a rose mallow.

Bug on thistle

A bug on a thistle.

bee and flower

yellow meadow


Some spring flowers

This spring is shaping up to be the best one we’ve had in a long time. Already we’ve seen and id’d lots of beautiful wildflowers, butterflies and birds.

Here’s some flowers we found Friday and yesterday evening. I’ve identified most of them. If I’ve mislabeled them or I’ve left some blank and you know what it is, please let me know in the comments!

Dutchman’s breeches
Bloodroot

Hepatica

Twinleaf

Cut-leaf toothwort

Spring beauty

Trillium

Rue anemone

Large-flowered bellwort

Yellow Corydalis

Ground ivy or a violet


James F. Hoffman Memorial Prairie Gardens, Olney, Illinois

On our visit to Olney, Illinois, we visited the James F. Hoffman Memorial Prairie Gardens, which is located at the Olney Central College.

It’s a garden full of native prairie grasses and plants. On the day we visited there were tons of butterflies, dragonflies and other insects flying around. Here’s some photos for you:


DeHart Botanical Gardens, Meadows of Dan, Va.

DeHart Botanical Gardens, Meadows of Dan, Va., is one of the recent trails we’ve explored. (There are several more that I’ll write about in later posts.)

Located off of U.S. 58 in Patrick County, this garden is a beautiful piece of land to explore. But, warning, if you have asthma or other respiratory problems, please take an emergency inhaler and listen to your body. I had trouble from the beginning with tightness in my chest. Luckily, there were no problems but it concerned me. It was a very hot spring day, so pollen in the air and heat was an issue.

This is a private garden, but the owners allow visitors on the property. They just ask that you sign the guest register located in the mailbox by the gate so they’ll know that you were there. If you don’t sign in, you’re trespassing.

You have to park on the road side and walk up a very steep driveway to the trail head. There, you can begin a 2.8 mile loop down and up the side of  the mountain.

Along the trail you can spot all kinds of wildflowers — from showy orchis to wild columbine. (Please leave wild flowers where you find them!) The path also passes by a waterfall and a fallen down old homestead.

It’s very beautiful through the park, but very strenuous. On the accent back up the mountain we had to walk up the path holding onto trees and resting every few feet.

So, again, if you’ve got asthma or other problems, use caution and take an inhaler. Also, a bottle or two of water is very useful.

You can see a map and get directions to the garden here.