Most years, my friends in our Thursday Naturalist group like to walk the Bog Meadow Brook Nature Trail to visit some special flowers that flourish there. Since I volunteered to lead our visit this year, I checked out my many past blog posts that feature this trail, to determine what would be a good date for this year's walk. It appeared that late May would be best. So May 25 is the date we will visit Bog Meadow. But I went there last week, just to see if I could find our targeted flowers in bud. Well, I found the flowers all right. But they were already blooming, not just in bud.
We'll begin our walk from the Rte. 29 trailhead, on the eastern edge of the city of Saratoga Springs. The trail from here runs eastward through wooded wetland, with open water to the north and forested swamp stretching south as far as the eye can see. Diligent and dedicated trail stewards do their darnedest to keep this trail dry enough to walk on without high boots, since the beavers who occupy the trailside water often do their darnedest to flood it. So far, so good this spring. Just a few shallow puddles cross the trail for now.
I was delighted to find many sprouting Canada Lily plants (Lilium canadense) in the trailside grass. And hopeful, too, that these baby plants might live long enough to produce their whorls of gorgeous flowers by early July. In past years, Scarlet Lily Beetle larvae ate most maturing plants down to the ground, but today I found not a single beetle among them. Perhaps a predator wasp has found the devourers of this lily population. Here's hoping!
Here's another lovely flowering plant I hope will still be bearing blooms in a week or so. Again, these are flowers that often stay hidden beneath the plant's overarching leaves. This is Rose Twisted-Stalk (Streptopus lanceolatus), a species much more common in the Adirondacks to the north. I know of only two plants that grow along the entire two-mile length of Bog Meadow Brook Nature Trail.
Finally, I enter a deeply shaded section of the trail, a little over a half-mile from where I started. I hope our Naturalist friends will be willing to proceed about a quarter mile further through this woodsy and watery habitat before we turn around. A mile-and-a-half is a long way for us botanizers to explore, inching along at the super-slow pace we usually accomplish in wildflower-rich settings like this. Flower-heavy limbs of Highbush Blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum) reach onto the trail in this section, and I wonder why here but not along other parts of the trail.
After turning around, I began to hurry my steps as a few raindrops tickled my face. But I'm glad that was it, for a rainstorm, since I quickly drew to a halt when I spotted this pink-budded, white-blossomed small tree some ways back in the trailside woods. I grew up playing in my grandpa's apple orchard. Sure looked like an apple tree.
I am going to share this post with the Thursday Naturalists, so they will know what to look for when we walk together next Thursday. Yes, some flowers may be past bloom by then, but other beauties will take their place. No walk with these friends or along this trail is ever not wonderful.