A discussion on Facebook a few days ago reminded me that the Collins Gulf area of Savage Gulch State Natural Area in Grundy County, TN was on my list of areas I wanted to check out for wildflowers. Originally I had targeted it because of reports of Fringed Phacelia (Phacelia fimbriata), but when I photographed that species in the Smokies, Collins Gulf got bumped down a few places on my list. But I wanted to get into a wilderness with my grandson while he was on spring break this week, so I bumped it back up. Checking the weather, Tuesday, April 4, was forecast as the best day, and this time the weatherman was right – rain on Monday gave us good water for the waterfalls, and a beautiful, sunny day showed up Tuesday morning – as forecast. Grandson Joseph and I headed out about 9 AM for the 50-mile drive to the Collins Gulf West Trailhead of Savage Gulch, for Waterfalls and Wildflowers (31 species; see the list at the end of the post.)
Today was much cooler than it has been – more normal temps for early March – and last night temps dipped below freezing in parts of the region. Even so, I was expecting more than on 2/21, and certainly got it. 21 species blooming (although in some cases very early in their bloom season.) The big surprise: Dutchman’s Breeches, just starting to bloom (we saw three plants with flowers or developing blossoms.) This is, I believe, the earliest I’ve seen this plant bloom at The Pocket.
The warm weather has continued, along with a fair bit of rain. It’s been 10 days since my last trip to The Pocket (3/2), and I was expecting some significant changes in what was blooming. Some news – the Harbinger-of-Spring is almost gone. However, that’s not the only news… Wait for it…
Not just the Wood Poppy…
Saturday, March 14, 2014 was a beautiful day with perfect morning temperatures for hiking, and fortunately my grandson Philip had asked me to take him for a hike, so around 9 AM we headed out from Camp Vesper Point for a visit to the nearby North Chickamauga Creek Gorge State Natural Area. This was my grandson’s first visit to the North Chick, and I hadn’t been there in many years, so while I was hoping for wildflowers, I wasn’t sure what to expect.
Carolina Geranium, a native species, has been added to the USWildflowers database (04/23/2012.) Scientific name is Geranium carolinianum. Photo below was taken in Walker County, GA, on May 23, 2012. It is also known by the common name Carolina Cranesbill. Go to the Carolina Geranium detail page for more information.
Cutleaf Geranium, an introduced species, has been added to the USWildflowers database (04/17/2012.) Scientific name is Geranium dissectum. Photo below was taken in Walker County, Ga, on April 16, 2012. It is also known by the common name Cut-leaved Cranesbill . Go to the Cutleaf Geranium detail page for more photos and information.
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.
Storksbill, an introduced species, has been added to the USWildflowers database (11/03/2011.) Scientific name is Erodium cicutarium. It is also known by the common names Crane’s Bill Geranium, Redstem Stork’s Bill, Redstem Filaree, Heron’s Bill, and others. Photo below was taken in the Boise Foothills near Lucky Peak in Ada County, ID on June 14, 2010. Go to the Storksbill detail page for more photos and information.