Welcome to our two-hour walk at Adkins Arboretum. The delightful sunny weather was in the 40s and got to the 50s by afternoon. There were 15 guests, but most chose to do the one-hour walk with Mary Jo K. and not have to come early at 10 a.m.
We took the long walk out the South Tuckahoe Valley trail. Some of the earliest ephemerals can be seen where the hilly trail captures some south sun. It has been a very cold February and March, and many plants are about a week to two weeks behind last year. The sassafras were barely showing any yellow buds, and the pinxterbloom azalea had some nice pink buds showing. Their pink buds will continue to swell for another month before they bloom. The cool weather has also kept the shadbush and blueberry bush from showing their colors. Further along, we did see a tiny speck of yellow on the spicebush buds at the next bridge. As we approached the later skunk cabbage bridge, we caught sight of green skunk cabbage leaves basking in the sun. Our very alert eyes finally found a patch of shy spring beauties. Actually, we ended up seeing three small patches of these beauties. In among them were some leaves of spring cress, but no blooms here either. We did spot a fair number of cranefly orchid leaves with their lovely purple underneath.
Getting to the path down by the creek, we spotted two types of green ferns, the Christmas fern and some wood ferns. Another keen eye saw the tracks where raccoons had waded in the sandy-bottomed stream. We proceeded to the trout lily patch and saw only young leaves, but we marked it with some branches, and hopefully others will monitor when the blooms appear.
With the long walk, we were happy to get back to the Visitor’s Center to our decorated room filled with the delicious and colorful cabbage and beet soup, black-eyed pea salad, dill rye bread with strawberry jam, and cranberry apple cobbler. Nancy B. decorated, and Mary A. H., Shirley B., Zaida W., and Pat B. helped with the setup and cleanup. Shirley B. and I brought cobbler. Mary Jo K. led the one-hour group. We had a short discussion on nutrition using the recipes and some info on myths about fats. Our guests mentioned that walking in the woods is such a delightful experience, no matter what we see. When I mentioned the upcoming Soup ’n Walks, there was concern that none was planned for October, and one of the guests started creating a guest list that would have at least 15. It was good to see such excitement. Some new ones from Annapolis at my lunch table said they would be back and had already signed up for April. Many thanks go to the volunteers and staff that make this event so enjoyable.
by Julianna Pax
Arboretum docent naturalist
The next Soup ‘n Walk is Saturday, April 27.