Eastern Columbine – Native Plant of the Day 04/05/2017
Photo from April 4, 2009. Location: The Pocket, Walker County, Ga.
More photos / info at the Aquilegia canadensis detail page.
I had not planned on getting back down to The Pocket so soon after Sunday’s trip, but I got an email from Clayton Webster of the Over The Hill Hiking Group on Tuesday inviting me to join them on their visit to The Pocket today. I was really glad I joined them, not only because they are such a fine, fun group of folks, but without them I would have missed a Bloodroot still blooming! With that Bloodroot and all the other early spring flowers except Harbinger-of-Spring making a presence (yes, Dutchman’s Breeches STILL blooming) and so many other species at peak bloom, today might have been the perfect day for a visit to The Pocket. Thanks, Clayton!
The Pocket is in full swing with most of its signature species in bloom, although with the exception of a single plant, we saw no Bloodroot blooming today. We lost a species or two, but what has started blooming since my last trip (3/17) more than made up for it, starting with the Bent White Trillium (Trillium flexipes.) Probably the big surprise for me was that we still had many Dutchman’s Breeches still blooming – since early March! I don’t remember a previous 3-week+ bloom season for this plant at The Pocket.
Another hiatus from The Pocket of almost 2 weeks. Repeating from the last report – “Even more species are blooming now than two weeks ago.” This time I counted 40 species blooming, including one I don’t recall ever seeing down there before – Crossvine (Bignonia capreolata.) But the show is the massive display of Bent White Trillium (Trillium flexipes) – nearly every plant I saw had an open blossom, and the hillside was covered with them in many places.
It’s been nearly 2 weeks since I made it down to The Pocket – my apologies for the paucity of status updates this year. Even more species (38) are blooming now than two weeks ago (28), even though we’ve lost, or nearly lost, a few. I only saw a single Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis) bloom, Harbinger-of-Spring is gone, Spicebush (Lindera benzoin) has completed its bloom, there are only a few Trout Lily (Erythronium americanum) still blooming, Dutchman’s Breeches (Dicentra cucullaria) are essentially gone, and I couldn’t find the single Pennywort (Obolaria virginica) I saw two weeks ago.
While some of the early bloomers are gone – no more Dutchman’s Breeches, for example – this is STILL a great time for a visit to The Pocket. My growing wildflower checklist for The Pocket is up to 59 species now, and 41 of them are blooming now, even though a few of those are almost gone. If you want to see Bluebells, better hurry; they are declining fast. The Dutchman’s Breeches (Dicentra cucullaria) are gone, and I only saw one small patch of Carolina Spring Beauty (Claytonia caroliniana). All three Trillium species are still in full glory, but probably the dominant species blooming right now are Wild Blue Phlox (Phlox divaricata), and Purple Phacelia (Phacelia bipinnatifida), which you’ll see all along the Pocket Road on your way in to the parking area.
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This is a great time for a visit to The Pocket. (See end of this post for my guess on 4/10 status.) On Thursday, 4/3/2014, my wife and I walked up the Pocket Loop Trail, and then went back down to the parking area to meet up with a homeschool group who had invited me to join them for their visit to help identify the flowers they saw. We walked the Shirley Miller boardwalk and extension trail up to the falls with this great group of moms and their children. Several of the “signature species” are still blooming – Virginia Bluebell, Wood (Celandine) Poppy, Dutchman’s Breeches, and all three of the Pocket’s three Trillium species are blooming right now. 35 of the 55 species on my current version of the checklist are blooming right now.
We also ran into Clayton Webster and some more of the Over the Hill Hiking Group that I met last week. We had a nice visit exchanging information on what to look for blooming – they were coming from where we were going, and vice versa…
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Yesterday (3/27) was one of the rare days this spring – mostly clear skies and warmer weather – into the 60’s. As a plus a couple of my grandkids wanted to join me, so a great time at The Pocket was guaranteed. Several of the “signature species” at The Pocket – Virginia Bluebell, Wood (Celandine) Poppy, Dutchman’s Breeches (or, as my grandson called them, “Upside Down Pants from Holland), Trout Lily are blooming right now. I’m developing a checklist to use so I won’t have to photograph or remember what all is blooming, and of the 51 species on my current version of the checklist, 25 are blooming right now.
For the rest of the story…
It’s only been 5 days since my last report, but it’s been a rough week and it looks like I won’t be able to get away over the weekend. While wildflower photography can be more physically demanding than most people would think, I find it a great way to get away from stress for a while, so I took a few hours for a visit – it was great. Among the new flowers beginning to bloom in the past 5 days are the prettiest of the Fleabanes we have in this area – Robin’s Plantain.
Read on for the rest of the list, and a few more photos. Click on the photos for larger images, and then “back” to return to this page.
I wasn’t planning on going down to The Pocket this weekend, but my wife had other plans for Sunday, so she suggested that I do something to take advantage of the beautiful day, so I headed down there shortly after getting home from church. In addition to walking the boardwalk and the trail up to the falls, I did a little back country walking above the bluff north of the horse trail. Wildflowers are abundant; here is my report, and a couple of photos taken off the beaten path in The Pocket at Pigeon Mountain.
The Phacelia are blooming. There is a Phacelia in the field to the right as you walk down to the boardwalk; they are blooming along the boardwalk and all the way up to the falls. The photo above was taken up on the top of the north bluff.