wildflower walk

5.6.22 ~ Connecticut College Arboretum

Friday afternoon my sister and brother-in-law joined us and a large group of (mostly) retired folks to take the Connecticut College Arboretum’s annual guided wildflower walk in the Edgerton & Stengel Memorial Wildflower Garden. It was outside so no masks. They hadn’t had this walk for the past two years because of the pandemic. Leading the walk this year was Miles Schwartz Sax, arboretum director, and Madison Holland, horticulturalist.

I didn’t catch the names of all the flowers but have identified the ones I’m more sure of. When we arrived we saw some arborists hard at work in the trees.

And while waiting for the talk and walk to begin I saw my first catbirds of the year! They were very busy but I did manage to get a couple of pictures. 🙂

Enjoy the spring ephemerals!

Virginia bluebells
star chickweed (thanks to John for the identification)
wild columbine
wild geranium
wild geranium
dwarf crested iris
barren strawberry
pinkshell azalea
herb Robert (thanks to Jane for the identification)
white baneberry
great trillium
Virginia bluebells
smooth solomon’s seal
large-flowered bellwort (merrybells)
nodding trillium

The Edgerton and Stengel Wildflower Garden is filled with wildflowers, ferns and a shrub layer of native azaleas and rhododendrons. Sheltered by a canopy of white ash and red maple, this naturalistic garden displays its beauty on a west-facing slope. The remains of stone walls are reminders of the original agricultural use of the land. Wildflowers are able to survive without the intervention of people and they add to the natural beauty of any setting.
~ Connecticut College Arboretum website

We were lucky the approaching rainstorm held off until after the walk. It was fun interacting with people again, even while everyone kept a respectable distance. Might be worth another visit in a week or two. Some flowers had gone by and some looked like they hadn’t bloomed yet.

42 thoughts on “wildflower walk”

    1. Thank you, Ally! Since blue is my favorite color I find myself drawn to those Virginia bluebells, too. Love those shades of blue.

    1. It was very nice to have a guided tour. I forget how many varieties of wild violets the guide said were in the garden. One for every taste!

  1. The spring wildflowers are beautiful! Loving the Virginia bluebells especially. And still looking forward to our first wildflower.

    1. Thank you, Kathy! The Virginia bluebells were the stars of the show. 🙂 May your first spring ephemerals be making an appearance soon!

  2. Barbara, these are splendid, especially those bluebells! Perhaps it’s the shape … or the color … but my eye seems to be drawn to them. And I enjoyed seeing your catbirds too — I’ve never managed to get a photo of one!

    1. Yesterday morning I opened the shades in the kitchen and found a catbird preening on a branch in my birch tree. Enjoyed his company and didn’t run for the camera. 🙂 I think it’s the shape AND the colors that make those bluebells so appealing!

  3. Nice for the two of you to share a lovely botanical wildflower walk and talk with your sister and her husband, along with a few other new acquaintances! Sweet photo selection. My favorite is the single great trillium.

    Your full selection left me wondering what Georgia O’Keffe would have created with her imagination of each natural beauty.

    1. I was lucky to get that great trillium — they don’t last too long and the purple trilliums had gone by already. I don’t think I would have spotted the nodding trillium if the guide hadn’t pointed it out to us. Flowers have been such a great inspiration to so many artists, I imagine a Georgia O’Keeffe trillium would simply be stunning.

  4. Gosh Barbara what a beautiful spring walk. So many beautiful places to hike near your home.
    Re the flowers that you can’t ID – I use the iNaturalist app. Have you tried it?

    1. I have not tried (or heard of) the iNaturalist app. Thanks for the suggestion, Rosie, I will look into it! We do feel blessed to have so many choices for beautiful walks nearby. I do hope all is well with you.

    1. Thank you, Donna! There’s something so appealing to me about catbirds, maybe it is those little toupees! Or those dark eyes… 😉

  5. I can’t imagine being one of those arborists hanging in the trees; not for the faint of heart of those with height fears (me).

    The catbirds are lovely!

    You were able to see and captures so many pretty flowers too…but being out in nature with like minded people must be the best feeling.

    1. I used to love climbing trees when I was a child, but dangling in the air off of one — no thanks! It was a good feeling being out there with other nature lovers, in fact, it was a little surreal after all this pandemic isolation. The experience feels like a dream now in my memory. I’m happy to report seeing a lot of catbirds the past few days. 🙂

  6. What a nice return to a tradition after the two-year lapse. This looks like a beautiful walk. I bought a book about wildflowers in Michigan last year, but not looked at it yet. My car has been in the shop now for a second weekend, so there have been none of my bigger jaunts where there are more wildflowers. I am impressed with your knowledge of all the wildflowers Barbara. They are all so delicate. It’s so nice to see color again – it seems like you were just posting about your all-day blizzard.

    1. I have a book on Connecticut wildflowers but it’s kind of overwhelming to me the way it is organized. I think I’m going to try the iNaturalist app that Rosie suggested, when I can get Tim to help me install it and show me the ropes. (I’m technically challenged.) Sorry your car is in the shop, I hope it gets back in working order soon so you don’t miss anything your springtime has to offer! It’s not my knowledge of wildflowers here, Linda. There were little identification markers next to some of the plants, so I took pictures of them to help me remember. 😉

      1. You lucked out with the markers Barbara. They have the markers for some of the flowers out front at the Botanical Gardens, so I have used that as a helper for me. I bought the book intending to identify each flower I saw … yes, ambitious going into Fall, but now that it will be time to use the book is another story. Well there is always next year. I don’t have a smartphone, just a flip phone so I can’t get any help in that regard for any apps for flowers or birds. As to car, I didn’t mind so much this weekend as it was supposed to be rainy/stormy both days, but today’s been okay so far. Last weekend was great weather. I went to my regular park and around the neighborhood and got some photos. I have walk photos to take me thru Father’s Day (06/19), so hopefully the weather is good and the car is ready Tuesday as they said.

        1. We manage to make the best of things, using whatever tools we have on hand! 😉 May the weather be good when you get your car back!

          1. Yes, this is true Barbara. I took some more pics at Council Point Park this morning. We’ve had two gorgeous weekends, with no rain in two entire weeks but a somewhat rainy week ahead … we have 90 degrees projected for next weekend. It’s 88 out there now. Too soon for that heat!!

          2. That is way too soon for that summer heat! I’m happy you got two gorgeous weekends and am sure your savored every moment of them. 🙂

    1. What a sweet story, I’m glad the neighbor decided to buy the field and keep the daffodils. Thanks for sharing this! It’s a bit too far away for me to travel to do a drive-by. My gut is so unpredictable I need to stay much closer to home. 🙁

      1. I thought it was a sweet story too Barbara. I really like Steve Hartman’s human interest stories. How nice the neighbor has kept this field as is, even if the daffodils only bloom for such a short time. I’m sorry that would be too far away for you. I knew you enjoyed the outing where you saw all the daffodils in a recent post so thought I’d pass it along.

        1. Steve Hartman has such a cool job, finding all those heart-warming stories. I’m glad you shared the story with me even if I can’t make the trip. Fortunately for me (and my gut) I’m still finding some treasures closer to home. 🙂

          1. Yes, I envy his job – so much fun compiling those stories and meeting people. I never watched Charles Kuralt on the Road, but always heard good things about that program as well. Luckily you have treasures close to home to satisfy your love of nature and curiosity. I doubt I will stray far from home down the road when retired. Even walking in big parks is worrisome now with tick infestations and bird flu – sigh. Driving is not a pleasure with road rage and shootings here in SE Michigan.

            Travel is not like it was in the past – too much unrest in the world now, restrictions and I don’t think we will ever be free from COVID. I went on a few cruises back in the 70s/early 80s as part of a tour and never worried or even heard of norovirus – before COVID, it seemed norovirus was rearing its ugly head on many cruiseships.

          2. It does seem to be getting more and more risky to leave the house. You just never know… And you couldn’t pay me to go on a cruise, although I had been thinking of a Hurtigruten cruise up the coast of Norway before I got sick in 2018 and before the pandemic.

  7. Thanks so much, Barbara, for taking us along on your enchanting spring walk. So many different wildflowers and how wonderful to have their names for us here. Columbine and bluebells and trillium, violets and the strawberry…so lovely. I especially liked the pinkshell azalea–the color and delicate nature. I also really liked seeing your gray catbirds. We don’t have catbirds in Calif., so I like seeing them here, and surrounded by buds and bells they are picturesque.

    1. You’re welcome, Jet. That pinkshell azalea was dazzling — people were lingering around admiring it for such a long time I had to wait patiently for an opportunity to get a good picture of it. The gray catbirds are some of my favorites and this year, for the first time, I’ve been seeing them in my birch tree right outside my kitchen window. I love listening to all their varied songs and calls.

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