The Trillium Trail casts a special magic during spring. I was afraid to miss the annual miracle this year--too ironic to contemplate now that we live about 15 miles away rather than nearly a hundred. So, this week on a beautiful evening after work, I dragged Herb out to visit it.
We got there around six-thirty as the sun's rays were slanting low over the ridge. The one person at the site was just leaving. The Trilliums were at their peak as you can see, but at that time of the evening the gnats and insects were starting to become annoying. I looked for the Yellow Lady Slipper orchids and found only two blossoms at the usual place (there usually are more than three plants there). A lot of trees had come down on that side of the trail, so perhaps some of the other plants at this stand had been buried by the timber.
Still, there should have been a lot more plants further down the hill--I remember years when there were Lady Slippers all over the trail. I went off trail to look around and found one only more bloom. Then I saw that there were a few more orchid plants near-by: one of the other plants was in bud, but it hadn't opened yet. Perhaps it was a bit early for the Yellow Ladyslippers, and they are easy to miss among the undergrowth when not in bloom.
|Yellow Lady Slipper with Trilliums and Star Chickweed|
It was the same story with the Showy Orchis--I couldn't find any tiny plants, much less blossoms in the part of the Appalachian trail where I've seen so many of them over the years. I'll have to come back in another week or two to check. With the unusually cool spring this year, it's quite possible the orchids are late.
There was the usual range of lovely wildflowers found at this time of the year: several varieties of violets in yellow and blue, including halberd-leaved violets, star chickweed, wild geraniums, wood anemones, Early Meadow Rue and both Solomon's Seal and False Solomon's Seal not yet in bloom. Oddly, there was no Squaw Root--so plentiful in other years--to be seen, perhaps because it's been rather dry? I found a tiny plant new to me--only about 3 inches tall, with white flowers, which I have yet to identify. If any readers know what this plant is please let me know.
Poor Herb was having a hard time with the gnats, and trying to fend them off like this:
Birdsong resounded over the hillside on this golden spring the evening. I recognized the crystalline music of the rose-breasted grosbeaks, and had hoped to spot some of the birds, but didn't see any. I managed to see a few small warblers, blue-gray above with yellow at the throat, perhaps a bit of rust--they might have been yellow-throated warblers or northern parula warblers--hard to tell in the fading light.