Sunday, April 1, 2012

A Pocket-ful of Wildflowers

I spent this past Sunday on a field trip with the Georgia Botanical Society exploring a popular wildflower trail: the Shirley Miller Wildflower Trail in Walker County.  It is known more casually as "The Pocket at Pigeon Mountain".  In the springtime it is a work in progress - you can see different plants in bloom depending on when you go.  With this year's warmer and earlier spring, some of the flowers that I saw in April 2009 were mostly finished blooming even though I went 2 weeks earlier this year.

Wild hyacinth, Camassia scilloides
Camassia scilloides

The land is managed as the Crockford–Pigeon Mountain Wildlife Management Area and a GORP pass is now required.  The erosion of limestone and sandstone in the area has created unusual rock formations including towering sandstone bluffs near the falls.  I get the feeling that it is an interesting hiking area regardless of the flowers!

Whenever you go in the spring, it's a beautiful place and the boardwalk makes for easy walking for much of the way.  Only the adventurous folks need to carry on to the falls beyond the end of the boardwalk. Here are some pictures from the trip.

False garlic (Nothoscordum bivalve) and walking fern (Asplenium rhizophyllum) are two of the unusual things.  Four trillium species are found there - the two shown plus Trillium cuneatum and Trillium lancifolium (see my earlier post for pictures of those).

Nothoscordum bivalve

Asplenium rhizophyllum

Trillium decumbens

Bent trillium, Trillium flexipes

While many of the plants there are very special - growing in a unique environment - there are many of them that can be at home in a north Georgia garden.  The next set of pictures are still all from the trip, but I have these same plants in my garden:

Red columbine, Aquilegia canadensis

Spotted geranium, Geranium maculatum

Dwarf iris, Iris cristata

Scorpionweed, Phacelia bipinnatifida

Woodland phlox, Phlox divaricata

Woodland stonecrop, Sedum ternatum

There are a large number of blue flowers represented - besides the ones pictured there were several species of Viola (violets), the very popular Virginia bluebells (Mertensia virginica), bluestar (Amsonia tabernaemontana) , and wild comfrey (Cynoglossum virginianum).

As you can see from the blog I linked to at the beginning, it looks like much is yet to bloom and it would certainly be worth another trip back this year.


  1. This being my first spring of relatively serious wildflower hunting, I really see the difference a week can make.One week-nothing much. Next week-full bloom. Third week-Gone.

  2. Super post & pics & lucky you to have this trail nearby!

  3. I love wildflowers. Thank you for sharing.