Blue sky. Temperatures in the 60’s. A spring breeze which wafts the scent of blooming flowers.
Insects are out, including butterflies, their wings looking like stained glass windows, the sun glistening colors through them
Pinxster azaleas blooming on both sides of the creek, the landscape punctuated by white blackberry blossoms , fringe trees and swamp dogwoods. Rusty blackhaws, high above, blooming white clusters as large as my fist; dots of orange cross vines and American wisteria above.
Natural perfume, spring palate of colors, breeze caresses — all’s well with the world.
Granted, this was the first sprig of bloom. Many of the trees just had an inkling of light green tips, but with several days of 70 degree temperatures, the Ogeche tupelos will be ready for the bees.
And hopefully, they will show.
Within a few miles of the creek are a bank of bee hives. In the last two years the blooms were sparse, but so were the bees. This year, the bees are on the blackberries and hopefully the tupelos will bloom soon so the bees can move on to these flowers. Tupelo honey is one of the area’s best agricultural products and they’re getting harder and harder to find.
Tupelo honey never sugars, but increasingly we’ve paid premium prices for tupelo honey (as gifts) only to find the recipient telling us that it sugars.
We like tupelo honey, but at the current price, our friends get it, not us.
On Womack creek, ogeche tupelo trees are the last to leaf and the last to bloom. To us its a sign that’s a sure sign of spring.
Ask a few alder shrubs on Womack Creek which are losing their leaves to adult and larval alder beetles.
These grub with impunity, so it was not difficult to get photos of the adult, larva and pupa of the insects.
They love vegetables!
Until they’re pupated.
Had it not been for a recent curator added to the inaturalist.org experts, I might never had this identified. There is very little written about this species, although it apparently is a North American native.
If it contuinues its march along creeks and streams, eating alder leaves, it will soon be noticed.
Swamp jessamine were more prolific on the creek this year than in year’s past, As were crossvines.
At the entrance, golden clubs were still blooming.
Bristly buttercup still blooming throughout the lower creek where there is more sun.
The oaks were setting out their blooms: live oak and water oaks.
Southern dewberry and Pennsylvania black berries promise fruit later in the season.
Still blooming are Walter’s viburnum and parsley haw. Walters are usually are going to seed as the Virginia sweetspire start to bloom and the heat-sensitive parsley haw blooms fading with warm temperatures.
And definitely before Rusty haws bloom or fringe trees.
Poison ivy are blooming and pinxsters will be blooming for a few weeks more.
At Nick’s Road Campsite where we stopped for lunch, candy root, round leaf bluets and primrose violets were still blooming. Cinnamon fern were starting to sprout.
Tate’s Hell State Forest is a watershed; swamps are to be expected.
You may not think of visiting the northern border, with FR 22 separating the state forest on the south from the Apalachicola National Forest to the north, as a place to look for carnivorous plants. This is not on the wild flower trail which offers stupendous blooms off SR 65. It is over 8 miles east of Sumatra on a sandy forest road.
It was a wet non-winter and early spring and a section close to the New River is blooming right now.
Yellow pitcher plants will first catch your eye.
If you stop to examine the area, you will also see, Burke’s southern pitcher plants.
The full face of the flower is shown on the opening of this post.
Some are still in bud.
Pink sundews are all over the ground — hard not to step on them.
And interspersed are Zigzag bladderworts.
Also bunches of flattened pipewort.
They look like nature’s pincushions (like phone books, not a contemporary common reference.)
Bog club mosses can be found in the Apalachicola National Forest where the ground is perennuially wet, but they were in Tate’s Hell SF, also.
Looks like a green centipede.
Among all of that, the white bog violets are still blooming. These have thinner, longer leaves. There are more on the western section of Tate’s Hell SF than the eastern sections which has the white primrose leafed white violets.
Nearby, in small clumps, but noticeable because of their golden color, are Savannah sneezeweed.
At the New River one will see mayberry and high bush blueberries beginning to fruit.
And Atlantic White Cypress (cedar) fruiting.
Flatwoods St. John’s wort are still blooming.
And with the warmth, dragon flies appear — this one a blue corporal.