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Bluebell Peeping Spots

Virginia BluebellsOne of my favorite times of year is early spring when the native Virginia Bluebells are in bloom in many of our area parks and backyards.
There are two local bluebell festivals (Merrimac Farm and Bull Run) that both take place on Sunday, April 15:
~ Bluebell Festival at Merrimac Farm (http://www.pwconserve.org/)
However, Bluebells are already in flower all over our region and you might not want to wait for those events. So I asked the folks on the Native Plants East discussion list for their bluebell peeping suggestions. Here are their combined responses:
~ On Sunday, the Virginia bluebells were blooming at McCrillis Gardens in Bethesda, MD. Not sure about when they peak. - Eric Raun, Silver Spring, MD
~ I was just out at Carderock and in some areas the bluebells are almost fully out. In others they are still in bud... I also go to places on the Virginia side such as Riverbend, Scott's Run, and Turkey Run. These will all be better Easter weekend especially since the orientation of the Virginia side of the Potomac is more northerly, so gets a bit less warming than the Maryland side. But many native wildflowers are out now and 'peeping' is great just about any time.
- Marney Bruce, Montgomery County Master Gardener
~ Lovely stands of bluebells occur at BlockHouse Point Park which is also along the Potomac, but further out River Road. If possible park at the second (small) parking area and take the BlockHouse Trail into the woods. - Cheryl Beagle, Conservatory Gardener, Brookside Gardens
~ I've seen them on the C&O canal (years ago) near the locks above Swains (like Pennyfield Lock). Not sure how many are still there, and it wasn't a huge field or anything, just patches alongside the towpath. If you can get a bike out there to ride the canal, you can cover more miles to discover more patches. - Cindy Walzcak, Takoma Hort Club member
~ Turkey Run Park (the trail down to the Potomac River from the first parking lot) has wonderful bluebell displays in mid-April. This site mentions Balls Bluff east of Leesburg and also here is a link to bluebells at River Bend. - Mary Ann Lawler, VNPS
~ Last weekend, I saw a lot of bluebell "buds" at Great Falls, on the Maryland side, near the Billy Goat trail. I imagine this weekend they would be in full and glorious bloom! - Paula Jean Harvey
~ I saw Bluebells blooming along the steam in the hosta garden at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens last week. I know they also have them in their Potomac Wildflower collections, but I didn't get to walk through that part of the garden. - Mona Miller, Volunteer, Meadowlark Botanical Gardens, Vienna, VA
~ Turkey Run has bluebells along the Potomac: from parking lot C-1, take zig-zag trail down to the Potomac Heritage Trail & wander either up or down river from there. Also some nice smaller patches along Woods Trail heading east (north? In the same direction as the river flows) from the Parkway Headquarters Building. - Margaret Chatham, Falls Church, VA, Potomac Gorge Weed Warrior at Turkey Run
   Last Sunday, I decided to try my luck out at the Great Falls Carderock site that Marney Bruce and Paula Jean Harvey had recommended. We walk a short distance down the Billy Goat Trail towards the river and near Jan's Face cliff face. Bingo, Marney was right -- no shortage of bluebells in bloom! The bluebells are hard to photograph en masses as the light blue tends to blend in with the background sky, but I still recommend bringing your camera and giving it a try.
Posted: 4/2/2012 by Kathy Jentz | with 25 comment(s)
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