A variety of wildflower seeds were planted this past weekend at the Rockcliff Farm trails and lakeside. A surprising number of wildflowers were still in bloom there and in the ditches alongside the road to the farm. Where the blue trail bends near the lake, Agalinis purpurea – Purple Gerardia, was blooming in large clusters, its small pink flowers dotting the slopes. This photo shows two blooms with little visitors/pollinators hiding in the depths of the flower.
Along the water’s edge were small colonies of one of the toughest plants at Falls Lake – Eryngium prostratum – Creeping Eryngo. It grows at the water’s edge, where it is battered by the waves generated by passing boats, dried and roasted by the sun when the water level drops, and submerged for days or weeks when the water level is too high. It responds by blooming 7 months of the year, from July to January. This plant is easy to miss – blooms are very small, about 1/4 in long, and the leaves are the size of a penny.
Along the white trail from Soapstone Point to Zeagle’s Rock was the stump of a large tree which often plays host to a variety of wood fungi. This fall a huge Bracket Fungus, Ganoderma lucidum – called the Lingzi Mushroom, could be seen. Its bright red color and shiny surface made it easy to spot from the trail.
The road leading to Rockcliff Farm has been a great place year round to find wildflowers. These Late Purple Asters, Symphyotrichum patens, were still blooming brightly at the crest of the ditches.