The Pocket at Pigeon Mountain 2011 – Game On! #wildflowers

What a difference a few weeks with some warm weather makes!  On Feb 13 we made a trip to The Pocket and there was still a little snow on the ground and no sign even of Harbinger of Spring.  I made a quick trip down to The Pocket this morning to check on the status, and the wildflower season has begun!  Read on…

Sharp-lobed Hepatica - Hepatica nobilis

Sharp-lobed Hepatica - Hepatica nobilis

It was rainy and in the low 50’s this morning, but I knew things had to be developing at The Pocket, so I made a quick trip down there to check it out.  Due to the weather, I had the place to myself, and also due to the weather the blossoms weren’t opening like they would have been on a sunny day, but it was great to see the place coming into blossom again.

An admonishment if you’re headed to The Pocket at Pigeon Mountain this spring: Car pool!  The parking area gets quite full, and I see many large groups come in with only 1 or 2 people per vehicle.  In addition to parking, you drive through some folks’ neighborhood, so reduced traffic would be nice for them as well.  Check here for directions and information on what you might expect to be blooming at various times during the season.

The Red Bud trees planted along the driveway to the handicapped parking are forming their pink buds, so the trees have a pink tint to them.  Just before getting to the bridge to the boardwalk, there are a number of Cutleaf Toothwort (Cardamine concatenata) and Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis) blooming.  Violets and Harbinger of Spring (Erigenia bulbosa) are blooming as well. 

Northern Spicebush - Lindera benzoin

Northern Spicebush - Lindera benzoin

Crossing over to the boardwalk the Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginica) have leaves everywhere, and a few of the plants have their pink buds forming.  The area has many Harbinger of Spring blooming, and Trailing Trillium leaves are everywhere, many with the flower buds forming.  Toothworts and Bloodroot are everywhere, and the Spicebush (Lindera benzoin) is blooming.

Moving on around the boardwalk the Toothwort and Bloodroot continue to be everywhere, and white Hepatica (Hepatica nobilis) starts showing up, becoming more predominant as we move on out the boardwalk, with some of the blue Hepatica as you near the side branch of the boardwalk.  A few Star Chickweed (Stellaria pubera) blossoms are showing up, and the Trout Lily leaves are showing up everywhere.   Past the branch a single Trout Lily plant (Erythronium americanum) has a flower bud forming; looks like this might be the 1st Trout Lily to bloom at The Pocket.

Past the end of the boardwalk a ways a tree has blocked the main trail, and a well-worn bypass has been made up the hill away to get across the tree.  This is very slippery when damp, making the walk up to the falls much more difficult.  There are also two more large trees

Long-spurred violet - Viola rostrata

Long-spurred violet - Viola rostrata

 across the trail near the falls, but these can be stepped over because it is just the trunks, rather than the canopy branches crossing the trail.  Past these trees along the trail Purple Phacelia foliage is showing up, and at least one plant had flower buds forming.  Crossing the creek at the falls and taking the cliff trail up to the horse trail the Columbine foliage is apparent, and joining the Hepatica blossoms are the lovely Long-spurred Violet (Viola rostrata) blossoms.

I also saw a single Roundleaf Yellow Violet (Viola rotundifolia) in the area north of the parking lot, along with a few Common Blue Violets (Viola sororia) here and there.  The Trout Lilies, Hepatica, and Bloodroot and also there north of the pakring area, and for those that know where the colony of Puttyroot (Aplectrum hyemale) is located, here is a picture of the current status of the flowering stalk.  The withered leaves are there; I keep missing the vibrant leaf; guess I’ll try again later this year:

Puttyroot, Adam and Eve - Aplectrum hyemale

Puttyroot, Adam and Eve - Aplectrum hyemale

List of blooming plants:

  1. Cutleaf Toothwort (Cardamine concatenata)
  2. Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis)
  3. Harbinger of Spring (Erigenia bulbosa)
  4. Spicebush (Lindera benzoin)
  5.  Hepatica (Hepatica nobilis)
  6. Star Chickweed (Stellaria pubera)
  7. Long-spurred Violet (Viola rostrata)
  8. Roundleaf yellow violet (Viola rotundifolia)
  9. Common Blue Violets (Viola sororia)

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2 thoughts on “The Pocket at Pigeon Mountain 2011 – Game On! #wildflowers

  1. Jennifer Ware

    Do you think the park rangers will move the downed trees? I was hoping my daughter could get married there (small quick standing ceremony of immediate family only) at the end of the month but we went to check out the trail and couldn’t pass that huge tree.

  2. gcw Post author

    Not sure, Jennifer. This area is managed by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. I hear they’re real thin on staff and money right now, which is why the boardwalk hasn’t been repaired. I thought about trying to get down there with a chainsaw myself and clear that 1st downed tree off the trail to keep folks from trampling the wildflowers up the hill getting over it, but haven’t found an available timeslot yet. If I do, I’ll post an update out here.


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