I always get surprises when I go to The Pocket. Today was no exception, except that since things started blooming so much earlier than usual this year (Hepatica in January!), I was expecting the “early season” to continue – expecting some of the earlier species to be gone, and frankly I was expecting to see the Bent White Trillium blooming. However, with the exception of Lindera benzoin (Spicebush), ALL of the early species were still blooming. So with all those earlier ones, and a few more added this trip, I found 30 species in flower this trip. And those Bent White Trillium, while close, are not yet blooming. It seems the wildflowers at The Pocket are now closer to “normal schedule” than “really early.”
The Georgia Botanical Society made their trip to Cloudland Canyon State Park on Saturday, April 11, and I saw their photo report on Facebook. That, and a report from Richard Ware’s Sunday trip to the same location, inspired me to take advantage of a break in this week’s rain on Tuesday to get back over to Sitton’s Gulch to see the Dwarf Larkspur, Southern Red Trillium, and other wildflowers. It was a great choice, with at least 34 species of wildflower observed.
The rest of the story…
Grassy Mountain is a 3600’+ peak in Murray County, Georgia, just outside the southwest corner of the Cohutta Wilderness. It’s probably best known as the home of Conasauga Lake, which at 3150′ is the highest lake in Georgia. It is formed by a small dam on the headwaters of Mill Creek. I’d spent a lot of time in and around the Cohutta Wilderness in the 90’s, but hadn’t been back much since then, so when I got an email last week from Mike Christison of the Georgia Botanical Society where he mentioned he’d seen Yellow Ladyslippers blooming on Grassy Mountain in the past, and that they were recently blooming at a much lower elevation, I figured this would be a great time for a return trip to the area. In spite of the cool temperatures, wind, and occasional rain, it WAS a great time; my wife and I identified (at least to a genus level)
37 40 different wildflower species in bloom, including this Wideleaf Spiderwort (Tradescantia subaspera.)
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…
While the weather is keeping things slow, things are picking up at The Pocket. Several species have started blooming, and even more are “almost there.” Checking last year’s reports, we’re tracking pretty close to 3/10/2013. The big excitement for me today was finding that a few Dutchman’s Breeches have started blooming.
Read on for a more complete update…
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.
Wild Poinsettia, a native species, has been added to the USWildflowers database (01/25/2012.) Scientific name is Euphorbia cyathophora. Photo below was taken at the Coquina Baywalk on Leffis Key, Manatee County, FL, on December 22, 2011. It is also known by the common names Fire on the Mountain, Painted Euphorbia, and Desert Poinsettia. Go to the Wild Poinsettia detail page for more photos and information.