Bluebells brighten the EMNC woods
Published: May 7, 2014
A cloud darkened, drizzling afternoon brightened just in time for Endless Mountains Nature Center’s wildflower walk, summoning participants out of the tents to wander in a magical woods spangled with sky blue, trumpet shaped flowers with buds in shades of fuchsia and lavender.
The Virginia Bluebells were not quite at peak, but they still were breathtaking.
Beginning in a wildflower garden, Rebecca Lesko led a long line of tour goers on an informative walk, pointing out wildflowers easily overlooked, including wild ginger, as their early spring blooms are tucked beneath their large and shapely leaves.
She compared the ginger’s blood red, three pointed star shaped blossom’s scent with rancid meat, drawing in its targeted pollinator flies.
By contrast, the pink flowers of trailing arbutus that grows past the bridge on EMNC’s entrance road have a sweet, delicate scent.
Earlier in the program, the wildflower garden was dedicated in honor of Jean Pope, who greatly contributed to its native specimens and has many years of experience in wildflower preservation.
Pope unveiled the carved wooden signs for the garden, which was in early stages of bloom during the event.
Many of the plants in the garden were unfamiliar to visitors.
Some of the plants were chosen for form rather than flowers by Pope, who enjoys landscaping with native plants.
Rather than taking plants from where they are growing wild, Pope strongly suggests purchasing them from nurseries that offer specimens for sale, or for obtaining them from an existing wild plant garden like her own.
The walk progressed into the woods, across the remains of a canal, and as the group entered the forest canopy, bluebells seemed to be everywhere, lining the path and filling the area up to the Susquehanna River.
The show-stoppers of the walk, the bluebells were everywhere one could look for about a mile of trails, and visitors gasped at more beautiful specimens at each bend in the path.
“As always, enjoy this where it is, and don’t go digging it up,” Lesko said.
The bluebells are an ephemeral, which means that they appear while the forest’s canopy is still open to light, and the plant completely disappears once the leaves fill in and shade covers the woods.
Still, the bluebells have a fairly long bloom time, and Lesko invited visitors to return for a walk in a week or so, when the bells have fully opened.
The celebration included a delightful tea, with a multitude of tiny baked cookies and other sweets and savories as well as teas served with beautiful and unique antique pots in floral themes, as well as cucumber, lemon and strawberry waters.
A basket raffle was part of the fundraising event.