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Thursday, April 20, 2017

Wildflower Walk

Easter weekend was our weekend for wild things.  The day before the raccoon made its appearance in my Secret Garden we went on a wildflower walk along the C&O Canal with our guide Mary from the Potomac Audubon Society. . . .

I've always wanted to learn the names of wildflowers and thought it would help to have someone show me in the wild what each one was rather than try to figure it out from a drawing in a book.  So many look alike!  Here are a few of the many we saw.  This first one with the small white flower has leaves that look very similar to another flower's leaves. . . .
Mary pointed out that the flower of the Squirrel-Corn looks like a heart. . . .

While this one looks like a pair of pants. . . .


As we walked along the towpath of the C&O Canal we saw what was left of an old bridge across the Potomac River. . . .

And what was left of the train trestle that crossed the river. . . .

This path led from the towpath to the Potomac River. . . .

We could see this private house from the Towpath. . . .

This next flower (the spikey leaves) in past times was dried and used to stuff mattresses. . . .
Plumed Solomon's Seal (left) & Hedge Bedstraw (the spikey one)

Spring Beauty

Gill-over-the-Ground aka ground ivy

Wild Yellow Tulip
We left the towpath and started up Ferry Hill Trail.  You can see the towpath below. . . .
Virginia Bluebells


Trout Lily
 There were several interesting-looking dead trees. . . .

The flower for this plant grows further down the stem on the ground. . . .
Wild Ginger



The rest of the walk was "extra" for those in the second group who wanted to continue on.  I'm so glad we did!  This little path led up to a ledge. . . .

Shooting Stars
 At the edge were these red flowers. . . .
Wild Columbine
Mary told us that the May-apple only blooms after it grows a pair of leaves. . . .
May-apple and Yellow Violets
Another interesting tree, this one still living. . . .

We came back down to the towpath and could see the rock formations we'd been walking along.  This section had several caves.  This one has a path leading up to it. . . .

We had a pleasant walk back to the car along the Potomac River.  We figured we walked about 4.5 miles in the 2.5 hours we were on the tour. . . .

Our drive home took us past sheep up on the hill and cows down in the pasture. . . .

You can read this newspaper article about the first group's walk.  Here is an identification guide that might help you identify wildflowers in your area:  Wildflower  This one lets you key in shapes and colors to bring up a list of possibilities:  My

May all your wanderings bring pleasant surprises and delightful moments!

❤️Take Joy❤️


  1. How wonderful to have an expert identify the wildflowers, Cathy. Such a beautiful spot to take a walk! It's so thrilling to find trillium, Virginia bluebells and Jack in the pulpit in the wild. ♥

    1. Now I'm going to look for a Bird Walk to help me identify all the birds that visit our property!

  2. How wonderful. I've been on bird walks/tours, but never one for wildflowers. Nice photos.

    1. Thank you, Gail. I hope you can find a Wildflower Walk in your area!

  3. So happy to learn the names of these wildflowers that I also have in my woods!

    1. We need to make a wildflower map of our properties showing the locations of our wildflowers!

  4. Such a beautiful day for your walk and how fortunate the timing with so many flowers!
    A few years ago, I went on a wildflower walk and Newcomb's Wildflower Guide was recommended.
    It is a different identification system that you might want to look into. It is based on observing the characteristics of the plant such as shape of the stem, type and position of the leaves, etc. I find it quite a useful tool.

  5. Nice walk Cathy! I enjoyed the left-behind "architecture" amongst the wildflowers. There are so many wildflowers around here that I do not recognize, but you just showed me May Apples and Jack in the Pulpit, I now can identify these in our woods.

    1. I found Solomon's Seal in a part of my woods that I'd not noticed before. I'm seeing other wildflowers now, too.

  6. That is a wonderful post some of those wildflowers are familiar and others are so unusual. I love calling the plants the names by those quirky names. That was a fantastic walk, will you be going on any others? Sarah x

    1. Most of the wildflowers will be out of bloom soon. My Take Joy Society plans to take a picnic and painting supplies next April and spend the afternoon drawing and painting them.


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