Bluebell Refrain

April 7th, 2010
Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginica)

An especially pale blue color

Prompted in part by Annie in Austin’s musical tribute to Lady Bird Johnson and wildflowers, and in part by the nice July day in April (93°F), I had a marvelous time yesterday once more surrounded by Virginia Bluebells at Bull Run Park.

Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginica)

Bluebell carpet

I’ve written about this spectacle twice before (2006, 2008;  it’s becoming a biannual chorus) but it bears repeating.  If you’re in the DC area and you’re at all interested in wildflowers, you owe it to yourself to see it. Yesterday seemed to be near peak bloom and I think the flowers won’t last long in this heat wave. If you plan to walk on the Bull Run-Occoquan Trail or Bluebell Trail, be prepared for mud. But there are other areas of bluebells visible from the park road and close to parking areas.

It’s almost impossible to convey in words the sight of millions of bluebells completely covering the ground as far as the eye can see, so this year I tried something new – panoramic photos.

Virginia Bluebell Panorama (click for larger version)

I only had my old Fuji FinePix camera and no tripod, but I was still able to piece together some panoramas in Photoshop Elements. Because they’re such huge files, I uploaded them to Flickr instead of trying to show them all here. Be sure to click on the “All Sizes” icon and view them at original size. It’s a poor substitute for visiting the bluebells in person, but better than not seeing them at all.

11 Responses to “Bluebell Refrain”

  1. Oh wow, a bluebell carpet, wish I could see them for real as they are gorgeous. Thanks for the pics, I truly enjoyed them. A lot.

    • entangled says:

      Glad you liked the pix. I despair of ever being able to capture the whole scene. Next year, video!

  2. How wonderful, Entangled! Thanks for the link – it’s very interesting to see both Spring flowers in full glory -the intense little Bluebonnet with its stiff lupine leaves in sun and the delicately shaded Virginia bluebell with it’s floppier borage family leaves in filtered shade.

    I grew Bluebells in Illinois and saw them growing in sweeps under trees at Allerton Park down near Champaign, but never in such amazing numbers.

    If you can make photos like this with simple camera, can only imagine what they’d be like if you remember to bring the big deal equipment next time ;-]

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

    • entangled says:

      Annie, one of these years I’d love to see a field of Texas Bluebonnets in bloom (in person). The color in photos looks breathtaking.

  3. Wendy says:

    I dont’ think I’ve ever seen a wide expanse of bluebells before. I’ll have to make a trip to Bull Run!

    • entangled says:

      Have you been to any other wildflower sites around DC? I confess that I haven’t. It seems I’m always too busy in the garden in the spring to do much else.

  4. ACK!

    I saw the blue flower post at Zanthan Gardens and then the pics on Annie’s and now yours are making me want to collect blue flowering plants. I don’t need another garden obsession, so hopefully my blue bloom lust will be held at bay looking at the pics you all post.

    • entangled says:

      You’d be in good company if you started collecting blue flowers ;-)

      I thought of you last night while reading something about black flowers – the author thinks that red “black” flowers look blacker than blue/purple “black” flowers. What do you think?

  5. Layanee says:

    I have just a few and thanks to your photos I know now how they should be planted. There are quite a few blue spring bloomers aren’t there.

    • entangled says:

      I’ve read that if they’re happy and given enough time, they’ll spread vigorously (well, maybe not that vigorously). I never remember to go back in the summer after the foliage has died down to see how the trail looks then.

  6. Jake the Girl says:

    Wow, how pretty! When I lived in Scotland there was a forest whose floor was covered in blue flowers. I wasn’t a gardener then, and I didn’t know what type they were–but I loved looking at them all the same. It’s strange how such a similar phenomenon could exist in such a wildly different climate. (In most parts of Scotland it rains about 300 days of the year.)

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