Today (2/11) was sunny and unseasonally warm (62 degrees by late afternoon) for February, but much colder weather is forecast – tomorrow topping out in the 30s. Since we’ve been out of town for several days, I figured I should take this opportunity to check to see if the wildflowers are starting to show up at The Pocket. I was expecting to see Harbinger-of-Spring and that other harbinger of spring, Hepatica blooming, and kind of expected to see some Toothwort blooming. Well, 2 out of 3 ain’t bad.
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In reality, I could count all three of those as blooming – I did find a single Cutleaf Toothwort plant with a single blossom. There were quite a few plants with flower buds forming, so in a week or so, after this upcoming cold spell (predicted to be a FRIGID spell with temps in the lower teens) there will likely be a lot of toothwort.
Neither Harbinger-of-Spring nor Hepatica are plentiful, but they are plentiful enough to be easy to find.
There were, of course, a lot of plants showing their leaves – a few Trailing Trillium, Geraniums, Phacelia, and even Robin’s Plantain along the Pocket Loop Trail. Woodland Stonecrop is as always beautiful, even when no blossoms are present.
Not flowering but always interesting is the Walking Fern.
Plentiful in the region, but something I had never seen before at The Pocket, was a surprising find of a Cranefly Orchid – Tipularia discolor. The leaves are out during the winter, but they wither before the flower stalk pushes up. However, last year’s fruit was still up on this plant.
I also checked on the site’s well-known colony of Puttyroot Orchid. I had a difficult time finding the plants as the leaves were mostly buried in the leaves. Like the Cranefly, Puttyroot’s leaves will wither before flowering.
There were a lot of trees that had fallen over the winter. The back part of the boardwalk loop on the Shirley Miller Trail has been damaged and may be impassable for folks who are mobility-challenged. Near the back the little spur off the main boardwalk is damaged at the end, with the bench knocked off the platform. There are several trees across the trail to the falls, making that a bit more difficult than normal. Speaking of the falls, it was at an extremely low water level – only a few drips coming over the falls proper, with most of the creek water seeping into the rocks above the falls and coming out near the bottom. That was the biggest surprise of the day for me.
Update note: The travails of being retired – I had the date wrong; originally as 2/10, it was really 2/11 when I went to The Pocket and wrote this report.