A Seattle Rain

It has been raining here as though we had nothing to do but drink cappuccino and ponder the upcoming sun-filled summer like they do in the Northwest.  For us this is supposed to be the highlight season.  But it seems likely that the azaleas are going to get drowned out this year.  They are certainly looking bedraggled at the moment.  Instead of just moaning about the azaleas I thought it might be good to go back a couple of weeks to mention a few things I missed like the bluebells at Worthington Farm. 

The Worthington Farm is a part of the National Monocacy Battlefield Park.  That means that it gets care and tending by the National Park Service.  And though the history is interesting, for us it is nearly 6 miles of trails through woods and along the Monocacy River.  It’s interesting in most any season as a natural oasis just minutes away from downtown Frederick, but there is one special highlight for the park that occurs every April.  The Virginia Bluebells have taken claim to a large portion of the banks of the river.  And in April, when they are fully in bloom they are quite a sight to see.  This year the weather was overcast and the river near flood stage at peak bloom.

Virginia Bluebells in 2009

Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginica) in 2009

But even this overcast shot gives you some idea of the extensive bloom.  The flowers themselves come in a range of shades.

Virginia Bluebell (Mertensia virginica)

Virginia Bluebell (Mertensia virginica)

Including Pink and White, though these are less common.

Virginia 'Pinkbell'

Virginia 'Pinkbell'

Virginia 'Whitebell'

Virginia 'Whitebell'

There are also numerous wildflower companions to the bluebells in April at Worthington.

Spring Beauties (Claytonia virginica)

Spring Beauties (Claytonia virginica)

 

Nodding Star of Bethlehem (Ornithogalum nutans)

Nodding Star of Bethlehem (Ornithogalum nutans)

and butterflies

Zebra Swallowtail (Eurytides marcellus)

Zebra Swallowtail (Eurytides marcellus)

But most of all I’ve enjoyed tracking the progress of Baltimore Orioles that have typically ended up nesting in the giant Sycamores that line the entrance road to the park.

Baltimore oriole (Icterus galbula )

Baltimore oriole (Icterus galbula )

As the season moves on it gets harder to spot the orioles, but just before the leaves are fully out they are very visible against the blue sky as they assertively announce themselves to the world.  We’ve had the Orioles come to our place for a visit, but we have yet to see them nest any closer than the Worthington Farm (about 2 miles away).  I think they like the safety of the large trees.

2 comments on “A Seattle Rain

  1. Cricket

    Lovelovelove the pictures. I know understand why Beth compared this to the March bank at Winterthur. Your pix remind me of how English gardener Gertrude Jekyll described this exquisite American wildflower:

    The Sheaf of young leafage comes almost black out of the ground, but as the leaves develop, their dull, lurid colouring changes to a full, pale green of a curious texture, quite smooth, and yet absolutely unreflecting. The dark colouring of the young leaves now only remains as a faint tracery of veining on the backs of the leaves and stalks, and at last dies quite away as the bloom expands. The flower is of a rare and beautiful quality of color, hard to describe–a rainblow-flower of purple, indigo, full and pale blue, and daintiest lilac, full of infinite variety and indescribable charm.

    Many thanks Seattle weather for giving John the time to post these gorgeous pictures of a beloved native plant!

    1. jw

      Wow! Great quote on the bluebells. I shall treat them with even greater reverence in the future 🙂