Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Spring Plant Walks

Here's the list of spring plant walks for the John Clayton Chapter of the Virginia Native Plant Society. Please contact me to register for the walks beforehand. Email me at Be sure to come prepared for plant walks. Sometimes we'll be on trails, sometimes we'll be off the beaten track. Wear clothes you can get dirty and bring water and snacks if you think you'll need them. Check back here before walks to see if there have been any changes to the schedule.

W&M wildflower refuge - Saturday, March 14, 10:00

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There may not be a whole lot to see, but we'll be looking for late winter bloomers like hepatica and spicebush (if there's a cold snap it may delay the blooming of plants). The refuge is in the wooded area behind SWEM library. The refuge is somewhat hilly with both paved and unpaved paths - we'll be walking about 1 mile. We'll meet in the parking lot behind SWEM Library at the corner of Ukrop Drive and Landrum Drive (parking is allowed here on the weekends).
Update: Other plants we saw on this plant walk were Bloodroot, Crossvine, Leatherwood, Golden Ragwort, Red Buckeye, Wild Columbine and Skunk Cabbage. You can read more about the walk here.

New Quarter Park - Sunday, March 29, 1:30

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We'll be looking for early spring bloomers like pawpaw, sassafras, redbud, and spicebush, along with emerging ferns. The trail is about 1 1/2 miles long, somewhat hilly with mulched and dirt paths. New Quarter Park is at the end of end of Lakeshead Drive in the Queen's Lake subdivision near Williamsburg. We'll meet near the parking lot at the end of the drive, about 1 mile into the park.

Longhill Swamp - Thursday, April 2, 9:00-noon
Get on your boots on for a wetland tour led by Dr. Donna Ware. We'll be looking for dwarf trillium (Trillium pusillum) in Longhill Swamp, as well as marsh marigold (Caltha palustris) and spring cress (Cardamine bulbosa). For this walk, call 565-0657 to register.

Nolan Trail at the Mariner's Museum - Saturday, April 4, changed to 1:30.

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Take a walk on the wooded path along Lake Maury. I'm hoping to see dogwood and redbud, paw paw, golden ragwort and other plants. The walk will be about 1 1/2 miles, with a few small hills. We'll meet in the parking lot next to the Mariner's Museum. To get to the museum take J. Clyde Morris Blvd. west from 64 and follow to the end.

Grafton Ponds Natural Area Preserve - Wednesday, April 15, 1:00
This walk will be led by Rebecca Wilson of the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation. Grafton Ponds represents Virginia's best remaining example of a coastal plain pond complex. The many ponds here were formed by dissolution of the underlying calcareous marine deposits of the Yorktown Formation (that's a mouthful!). This wetland complex supports several rare plants and animals for Virginia including Harper's fimbristylis, pond spice, Cuthbert turtlehead, Mabee's salamander and barking treefrog. Space is limited so call or email to register for the trip and to get directions. The preserve does not have maintained trails so be prepared for an adventurous walk of approximately 2 1/2 miles.

Downtown Williamsburg - Saturday, April 18, 10:00

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We'll be looking for flowering trees and perennials in the heart of Williamsburg. Plants that may be in bloom include red buckeye, Jacob's ladder, sweet cicely, and Alabama snow-wreath. We'll be walking about 1 1/2 miles, on fairly flat sidewalks and paved paths. We'll meet at the intersection of Prince George Street and North Henry Street near the downtown parking garage.

Colonial National Historical Park - Thursday April 23, 1:30-4:30
Join Dr. Donna Ware for a tour of calcareous ravines. We're hoping to see leatherwood (Dirca palustris), scouring rush (Equisetum hyemale), and maidenhair fern (Adiantum pedatum) among other plants. For this walk, call 565-0657 to register.

Matteson Trail - Sunday, April 26, 1:30

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Join us for a walk around the edge of the Hamptons Golf Course on a trail named for John Clayton Chapter Member Tess Matteson. We'll be looking for plants like mayapple, black locust, bluets, blue-eyed grass and shagbark hickory. The easy 1 1/2 mile walk is along a level asphalt path. We'll meet in the parking lot of the Sentera Health and Fitness Center (currently undergoing renovation). To get to the trail take I-64, to the East Hampton Roads Center Parkway exit. After about .8 miles, turn left on to Magruder Blvd. and prepare for a quick left turn onto Butler Farm Road. Make the first right turn into the fitness center parking lot.

Gloucester Tripetala site - Saturday, May 2, 10:00

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We're hoping to see the beautiful bloom of the Umbrella Magnolia (Magnolia tripetala) along with many other native perennials and shrubs. There are no paths at this site so be prepared for an adventurous walk. If you live on the middle peninsula you can also register by calling Mary Hyde Berg at (804) 693-3568.

York River State Park - Saturday, May 9, 10:00

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Take a walk along marshes flowing into the York River. Plants that may be in bloom include mountain laurel, partridge berry, and trailing arbutus. The walk will be about 1 1/2 miles and fairly rugged. Be prepared for some hills. To get to York River State Park, take the Croaker exit off of I-64. After about .9 miles, turn right on Riverview Road and continue about 1.6 miles, then turn left on York River Park Road. We will meet in front of the visitor's center at the end of the road. There will be a park entrance fee of $3 so carpooling is recommended.


Janet said...

I will keep an eye on my calendar and see if any of these dates are good. March 14 is the York County Horticultural Extravaganza and May 2 is the Learning Garden plant sale, so those are out. Looks interesting, thanks for posting this.

Phillip M said...

I hope at least one of the walks works out for you.