What's Blooming

Ongoing post with pictures of nature in the Allegheny Highlands of Virginia and the Greenbrier Valley of West Virginia.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Blooming shrubs and proscribed burns

I'm behind on my post mostly because I have been busy and away from my computer, which are good things for the most part. First some updates.

Last week a couple members of the American Rhododendron Society and I went over to are area in southeastern Bath County along Pad's Creek to look at a huge patch of Pieris floribunda. This is an uncommon shrub of the Appalachian mountains. I know of two sites in Bath County and there are probably more. There are a few plants at the top of the hill going to the canoe launch at the Walton Tract. And the huge patch south of Bubbling Spring Campground. This shrub is of interest because it blooms early and because of the beautiful leather like evergreen foliage. One of the plants on the Walton Tract has had flowers opening for two weeks.

The large patch of Pieris on Pads Creek is within the boundaries of a upcoming proscribed burn by the Forest Service. Right now the conditions aren't right for burning, so the shrubs should escape the torch until the end of March. Hopefully they will be in full bloom by then when thousands of spikes of white bell shaped flowers will cover the hillside. As I understand it, thick undergrowth like the Pieris is one reason the Forest Service burns sections. I suppose there could be endless debate over what sections of forest should be burned and what should be left. While I would like to see the Pieris patch survive, I also realize that all things have a time and a season. Who knows, perhaps fire will encourage a larger patch for future years. Or perhaps some other amazing plants will take their place.

If you want to take a look, drive through Millboro on the road that goes over the mountain toward Little California. About 1/2 mile after the road turns to dirt, you will see Pads Creek Road on your right. Turn right and follow the road. After you pass Bubbling Springs Camp ground, start looking on your left. Some of the Pieris grows right down to the road. Though the road is unpaved, it is suitable for about any vehicle this far out.



Post a Comment

<< Home