Eight warm days after my last trip by The Pocket I expected more. I thought I’d see Harbinger of Spring, Hepatica, and Toothwort blooming, and possibly a few other early bloomers – maybe some Chickweed and Spring Beauties. Well, I guess as far as expectations are concerned two out of three ain’t bad, as the saying goes. Harbinger of Spring and Hepatica were all that was blooming; very similar to Feb 4 last year, so it looks like we’re nearly 3 weeks behind last year’s early bloom. I did get to spend some quality time with a few Hepatica. Start planning your trip to The Pocket – remember it is now a fee area.
Numerous Hepatica – Anemone acutiloba – were blooming.
We usually just call it “Virgin Falls”, both to refer to the 1,551 acre plot of land, as well as the namesake waterfalls occupying the far end of it. The official name for the land, however, is ”Virgin Falls State Natural Area” at least since the state of Tennessee acquired it in 2012. When I visited it previously it was known as “Virgin Falls Pocket Wilderness” and was owned by the Bowater Southern Paper Corporation. Bowater owns and maintains a number of “Pocket Wilderness” areas, and admirable public benefit and, I’m sure, public relations activity. Tennessee acquired the land using a number of funding sources, including a grant from the federal Endangered Species Recovery Land Acquisition Fund. These funds were provided in part due to the presence of Virginia Spirea (Spiraea virginiana), one of the rarest shrubs in North America.
When I heard about Virginia Spirea being in the Virgin Falls area I decided I needed to add that to the USWildflowers Waterfalls and Wildflowers series, and I was fortunate to make an overnight hike into the Virgin Falls State Natural Area on March 8-9 of this year. While many wildflowers were already in full swing down my way in north Georgia, 70 miles north and a bit of elevation gain makes a difference, and this will be more waterfalls and less wildflowers than I expected to report.
On Monday, Feb 4, I took a ride down to The Pocket at Pigeon Mountain with a couple of my grandsons – Chase and Jeff. To a great extent this was to get them out from in front of their computers/video games, but also, since we’ve had such a warm winter, to check to see if there were any early signs of spring. We walked the boardwalk and all the way up to and above the falls. We had a good time, and even though I was expecting some indication that spring is around the corner, I was surprised…
This is Leap Day. For this once-every-four-years day, I thought that rather than the normal Native Plant of the Day (#NPOD on Twitter) I’d post a few native plants from and a report on the early spring status of the wildflowers at one of Georgia’s premier wildflower locations, The Pocket at Pigeon Mountain. As things worked out, Feb 27 was the day available to make the short trek down to that part of Walker County.
It was a beautiful day. When my wife and I headed down to The Pocket on Monday, Feb 27, 2012, we considered both the beautiful day and the time we were able to spend together a blessing from God. We also expected to find wildflowers, since we’ve had very little real winter and quite a warm February. However, we had no idea!
Bloodroot – Sanguinaria canadensis at The Pocket at Pigeon Mountain
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…
My Twitter friend OurLittleAcre tweeted for an assist in a species identification on a Hepatica photo a day or so ago. As we tweeted back and forth a few times about the species and color variation, it became clear that the subject was going to be difficult to discuss in 140-character messages, and since I wanted to record my thoughts and what I was learning as I researched the subjects, a post here on the USWildflowers Journal seemed to be in order.
On Saturday I participated in the Georgia Botanical Society outing to The Pocket at Pigeon Mountain, led by Mike Christison. I’m a new member of the BotSoc, as they call it, and this membership in this organization is already paying dividends in many ways. In addition to showing me two more wildflowers sites on Pigeon Mountain, I picked up two new species at The Pocket. One of those was the Roundleaf Yellow Violet.
Add common chickweed to Hepatica and Harbinger of Spring as the wildflowers in bloom in this late-starting season at The Pocket on Pigeon Mountain. There is a lot of foliage pushing up, including the start of baby leaves of Trout Lily. A huge area of beautiful Hepatica are blooming along the base of the bluff above the horse trail.
Deep blue Hepatica nobilis
I can’t get enough of the beautiful sharp-lobed hepatica this spring, and not just because it’s almost the only thing blooming…