April 11th Guided Walk by Beverly Gemmill, Volunteer

Saturday, Jennifer and I led a walk in the pouring rain for a visitor who had come up from Salisbury. It was interesting in the rain because everything I planned to stress was drooping or closed from the rain, even the little frogs were snuggled in the mud because it was a cold rain. We did see some unusual mushrooms – some orange jelly like ones were interesting, I’m sure Bill T. would know what they were called, and I showed the difference between the mushrooms that have gills and pores. We walked Bloxton Branch path just to enjoy the intense green of the skunk cabbage and looked for bloom from the Packera aureus but it is not showing any color yet, the virginia bluebells are blooming and it does not show any deer damage, the blue was wonderful, the shy spring beauty was hiding it’s face from the cool rain. The vernal pool after the third bridge was filling and we talked about how important areas like that is for the water quality.

We walked out the south Tuckahoe trail, Thursday when I did my pre walk it was sunny and all the glorious spring ephemerals were blooming. The shadbush at the start of the trail was alive with buzzing bees and the white blossoms were so white against the blue sky. I’ll bet the shad fishermen stayed home Saturday and so did the bees. The blossoms were dripping and made us look down, which made us notice the partridge berry and the green briar the rain made the green stems and tiny green leaves very green. The bright red berries are still on the plants. We collect seeds in the fall but only a few from each area so as not to hurt the plants. The visitor seemed interested about the lady slippers and the research we were doing at the arboretum. It may have been the rain but the Kalmia looked wonderful even if it was not in blossom, rain makes all colors more intense. Sadly all the spring beauty that had carpeted the woods Thursday were not blooming but the sweet shrub was and we all checked out the lovely lemon scent, after a long cold winter even the tiny yellow blossoms are able to bring joy. Up the hill from the stream we saw some bloodroot one was in seed and we talked about the relationship between the ants and the bloodroot seeds. Thursday, I walked farther and saw the trout lily in blossom but we were getting very wet and headed back to the visitors center. 
 
Many thanks to Jennifer de Mooy for being such a good sport and putting up with the weather.

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