Saturday, May 3 was an excellent sunny day for a walk. The temperature was in the low 70s, and even though we had a lot of rain earlier in the week, the paths were quite good. And the flowers were in abundance! Some had been delayed by the cold winter, and others were pushed forward by the recent warm weather. We had a full signup of 30 guests, and I saw about eight hands when Margan asked if any were new to the Arboretum. After a short introduction, it seemed like everyone wanted a longer walk, so we split into two groups. One headed into the woods by the dogwood, and the other went in past the meadow and the sassafras.
The blooming plants and trees we saw included golden groundsel, sassafras, spring beauty, paw paw, pinxterbloom azalea, pink lady’s slipper, Quaker ladies, pussytoes, bellwort, Jack-in-the-pulpit, Virginia bluebells, dogwood, mayapple, black cherry, and redbud. Just getting ready to bloom were the buds on Solomon’s seal, hearts a-bursting, rattlesnake weed, and false Solomon’s seal. We did see one mountain laurel with a cluster of buds ready to bloom near Tuckahoe Creek! Further on the Tuckahoe trail there are several large patches of Indian cucumber ready to bloom and a few rock cress still in bloom. These will open in a week or so for those who come and look for them.
Many butterflies were spotted, including spice bush swallowtail, zebra swallowtail, tiger swallowtail, and a very small unusual one on a plant for sale by the Visitor’s Center. Birds on the wing were also visible and audible.
After our 90-minute walk, we enjoyed our lunch featuring scallop vegetable soup, roasted red beets and carrots over lettuce, apple date walnut bread with elderberry jelly, and fruity nutty oatmeal bars with a purple dollop from elderberry jelly mixed with powdered sugar. Elderberries tinted it a lovely pink color to remind us of the lady slipper blooming and mountain laurel to come next week. There was a nutrition talk about the recipes and more information on Omega 3s in seafood, walnuts, and flaxseed. We had an author signing of my new cookbook by request.
Thanks to all our dedicated- hard working volunteers: Pat B., Margan G., Zaida W., Shirley B., and Roger T. Zaida W. brought flowers from her yard. Shirley B. and I made desserts. and all helped with the setup and cleanup. It takes a lot of work to make the Soup ’n Walks a success. Thanks to the staff, especially Allison, Robyn, and Diana, for your help. When I asked about the bookmarks, some had found out that way. Many came up afterward and said how much they enjoyed coming here and would come again. The next Soup ’n Walk is September 20. Thanks to all!
By Julianna Pax