Seeking sun and winter warmth: a report from Saturday’s Soup ‘n Walk

What an extraordinary day today was! After all the cold weather and snow this winter, the Soup ’n Walk brought out 27 of the 30 who signed up. The sunny weather in the low 60s was the best we had seen since last fall. Next weekend promises the return of the cold, so we were all out to enjoy being at Adkins Arboretum today. We went “searching for the green.”

fast walkersMary Jo led one group of slow walkers, and I took a group who wanted a faster-paced walk. We both started at 11 and finished at 12:30. Here is what my group spotted when looking for green in the woods. First stop was the wetland, where the group spotted red cedar with blue berries on the female tree, holly trees, and an alder with cones. Later, in the woods, we enjoyed seeing the Christmas fern, princess pine (lycopodium), greenbrier, and pipsissewa (or wintergreen). There was lots of very green moss along the trails. Mosses make a wonderful nursery for later ephemerals. Green leaves were visible under the leaf litter on the cranefly orchid and the rattlesnake plantain orchid. Both of these will bloom in July.

Besides the green stems of the greenbrier, there were green stems on the hearts a’ bursting and, lo and behold, beside my favorite white oak tree, these green stems still had seed pods (no berries) and the oak was wearing its mantle of green moss so soft to the touch. Pines, both loblolly and Virginia, were everywhere, and we saw green leaves on the magnolia by one of the bridges. After walking the Birch Allee trail and taking a peek at Nancy’s Meadow, we returned to Blockston Branch bridge to spot our first skunk cabbage in bloom.

skunk cabbage

skunk cabbage

By now it was time for hot caldo verde soup, pasta salad, spinach spread on pumpernickel bread, and lemon frosted cranberry nut bars. After the lunch, all received the recipes and we talked about the recipes and all the greens in our food that are so good for our eyes and our health. Many said they really enjoyed the Soup ’n Walk today and were coming back for more.

Many thanks to the volunteers and Arboretum staff who make this program a success! Registration is now underway for the March Soup ‘n Walk, Early Purple and Pink Blooms. Click here to register.



by Julianna Pax
Arboretum docent


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