Along the Billy Goat B trail on Tuesday, there were still plenty of spring beauties, star chickweed, and field chickweed. While Virginia bluebells are waning fast, wild blue phlox is past its peak but still going strong. Plenty of Coville’s phacelia, but I wasn’t able to find any Miami mist. In a few places along footpaths between the trail and the towpath you can find wild geranium in full bloom, too. Close to the river a few stands of golden Alexanders are open.
Small patches of violet wood sorrel are blooming along the trail and in the greater Carderock area, which is looking great, with plenty of azure bluets and wild pinks in the rocky areas. Plantain-leaved pussytoes are blooming, too, and dwarf cinquefoil is just starting. Bastard toadflax is budding up and a few days from opening. A few days behind it, perhaps, will be rattlesnake weed, also budding up. Sessile bellwort is done already, and the yellow violets are mostly done, but there’s plenty of creamy violet still. Toadshade is hanging on, but most of the other ephemerals there are done (except spring beauty, of course).
Look up: flowering dogwood and pawpaw are in full bloom.
Over at Rachel Carson Conservation Park, the pinxter azaleas and showy orchis are in bud; the former will be open within a few days, the orchis in maybe a week. There are a few stands of azure bluets by the river, and gobs of rue anemone and spring beauty everywhere. Look for mayapples and jack-in-the-pulpit, too. There are several nice stands of perfoliate bellwort along the Fern Valley trail.
I also found a new-to-me shrub that I haven’t identified yet. Hopefully it’s something good and interesting and I can write about it in a few days.
Saw blooming long-tube valerian on Billy Goat B today. Also spiderwort, and two rattlesnake weed blooms. The valerian looks like it’s being choked out by other plants. Oh, the early meadow rue on Billy Goat C was starting to bloom today, buds just opening. Definitely want to see that this year after reading your past blog post about it. Please announce fringe tree if you see it — I missed it last year.
Thanks for the tip about the valerian – I will be donning my weed warrior vest next week as a result.
I was at Carderock a few days ago and didn’t see fringetree, though today I saw two in full bloom at the National Air and Space Museum in DC. I’ve noticed that native plants growing in Smithsonia Gardens seem to bloom about a week before they do in the Gorge, so keep your eyes open. Also, a tip – keep your nose open, too. I always smell it before I see it.