What's Blooming

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

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Special places just around the corner

My original plan was to post to the blog on Friday so that people would have an idea of what to look for over the weekend and where to look. But recently I haven't done such a good job of getting online on Friday. This past week has been full of nice treats. I saw Yellow Lady Slippers in bloom over near Arcadia. Probably a few more weeks before we see them here in Bath. And I saw Wister's coralroot also in Botetourt County. So two orchids in bloom already. Wister's has not been recorded here in Bath County, so you should look for it during this coming week near streams flowing over limestone.
After spending hours driving around the eastern part of the county looking for leather flowers on shale barrens, I found two locations within a couple of miles of Hot Springs. There is a nice patch along 615 just 2.2 miles from Hot Springs. Some plants are low enough to see easily. This site is on private land, so respect both the fragile shale habitat and the property owner's rights. You can also see Leather Flowers on the shale at the lower end of Dunn's Gap. The plants are across the creek and some are on private property. So bring binoculars. A trek around the Forest Service trails and cross country to the top of some of these shale barrens might give a closer look and also might yield a view of Kate's Mountain Clover, another shale barren endemic.
Showy Orchis should begin to bloom this week. Plenty of bluebells still around.
Two great wildflower hikes coming up on the 28th. The 42nd annual Show-Me-Hike in the Greenbrier State Forest begins with a program Friday night and offers a variety of hikes on saturday. Also on Saturday is the Warm Springs Ranger District annual spring wildflower hike at Blowing Springs. Excellent guides are provided. I'll be in WV for the Show-Me-Hike with a selection of wildflower photos on display. Have a great week.


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