Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Bluebell Peeping Spots

In the current issue of Washington Gardener Magazine, we have a story by Barry Glick of Sunshine Farm & Gardens on native Virginia bluebells along with a side-bar I added on two local bluebell fests (Merrimac Farm and Bull Run) that took place last weekend.

Since the festivals coincided with cold, rainy weather and the bluebells remain in bloom well past those limited festival dates, I wanted to expand on that story in this blog post to get folks out and viewing these special local wildflowers while they are at their peak these next few weeks.

I asked the folks on the Native Plants East discussion list for their bluebell peeping suggestions. Here are their combined responses:

~ On Sunday, the Virginia bluebells were blooming at McCrillis Gardens in Bethesda, MD. Not sure about when they peak. - Eric Raun, Silver Spring, MD

~ I was just out at Carderock and in some areas the bluebells are almost fully out. In others they are still in bud... I also go to places on the Virginia side such as Riverbend, Scott's Run, and Turkey Run. These will all be better Easter weekend especially since the orientation of the Virginia side of the Potomac is more northerly, so gets a bit less warming than the Maryland side. But many native wildflowers are out now and 'peeping' is great just about any time.
- Marney Bruce, Montgomery County Master Gardener

~ Lovely stands of bluebells occur at BlockHouse Point Park which is also along the Potomac, but further out River Road. If possible park at the second (small) parking area and take the BlockHouse Trail into the woods. - Cheryl Beagle, Conservatory Gardener, Brookside Gardens

~ I've seen them on the C&O canal (years ago) near the locks above Swains (like Pennyfield Lock). Not sure how many are still there, and it wasn't a huge field or anything, just patches alongside the towpath. If you can get a bike out there to ride the canal, you can cover more miles to discover more patches. - Cindy Walzcak, Takoma Hort Club member

~ Turkey Run Park (the trail down to the Potomac River from the first parking lot) has wonderful bluebell displays in mid-April. This site mentions Balls Bluff east of Leesburg and also here is a link to bluebells at River Bend. - Mary Ann Lawler, VNPS

~ Last weekend, I saw a lot of bluebell "buds" at Great Falls, on the Maryland side, near the Billy Goat trail. I imagine this weekend they would be in full and glorious bloom! - Paula Jean Harvey

~ I saw Bluebells blooming along the steam in the hosta garden at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens last week. I know they also have them in their Potomac Wildflower collections, but I didn't get to walk through that part of the garden. - Mona Miller, Volunteer, Meadowlark Botanical Gardens, Vienna, VA

~ Turkey Run has bluebells along the Potomac: from parking lot C-1, take zig-zag trail down to the Potomac Heritage Trail & wander either up or down river from there. Also some nice smaller patches along Woods Trail heading east (north? In the same direction as the river flows) from the Parkway Headquarters Building. - Margaret Chatham, Falls Church, VA, Potomac Gorge Weed Warrior at Turkey Run

On Easter Sunday, I was visiting family in Brunswick, MD, and we took a walk along the C&O path up there by the train yards. Plenty of bluebells stretched down in the ditches on both sides of the path, but not in quite the large groupings that I'd hoped to see.

Yesterday, David Furst of WAMU's Metro Connection and I decided to try our luck out at the Great Falls Carderock site that Marney Bruce and Paula Jean Harvey had recommended. We walk a short distance down the Billy Goat Trail towards the river and near Jan's Face cliff face. Bingo, Marney was right -- no shortage of bluebells in bloom! Click on the photo at left for an enlarged view. The bluebells are hard to photograph en masses as the light blue tends to blend in, but I think this one and the close-ups I posted here give you some idea. You can listen to us chatter on about bluebells on his show this Friday at 10am.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous2:18 AM

    Wow.. i like gardening..nice blog
    Thanks for sharing..@@

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