Cataloguing life on and off the trail

April 17, 2018

Oh, Virginia. I love your Bluebells.

In March of 2017, we took a little Spring Break hiking trip that included South Cumberland State Park, Fall Creek Falls State Park, the natural bridge at Monteagle, and Old Stone Fort State Park. It was a fun turn around the southeastern area of Tennessee.

When we returned home, I was scrolling through the feed of the What's Blooming in Tennessee Facebook page and discovered someone had posted a shot of an intriguing flower I had never seen, the Virginia Bluebell (Mertensia virginica). I have to say that it ranks right up there with the Passion Flower and Mountain Laurel when it comes to blooms that take my breath away––but I digress. The shot was taken at Old Stone Fort State Park the day before. Needless to say, I was crestfallen. I vowed that if I ever made it back to OSFSP in March, I would find those bluebells and I WOULD take their picture. 

Fast forward to Spring Break 2018. The grand plan was a loop that included Max Patch Mountain, Asheville, Little Switzerland, Roan Mountain SP, and Grayson Highlands SP (VA), but as we drew closer to departure, the forecasts for inclement weather in that entire area grew worse. We called it. Those beautiful mountains (and the wild ponies at Grayson Highlands) would just have to wait. We decided to head south, again.

What was our first stop? Old Stone Fort State Park, of course. What was my question for the ranger?

"Where are the Virginia Bluebells?"

We discovered lovely drifts of these amazing blooms in an area of the park we had simply missed in 2017. Were they ever worth the trip.














So, this year I returned home from Old Stone Fort State Park and I ordered my own Virginia Bluebells from Tennessee Nursery in McMinnville, TN. Tonight, I put them in the ground.

If all goes according to plan, next March, I should have some lovely shots of them blooming alongside my grandmother's daffodils.

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