Peak Spring

Hi River Roaders,

Spring is in full glory, with ephemeral wildflowers still in bloom, woodland shrubs starting to flower, and bird migration hitting a peak. The sights, sounds, and smells of spring on the River Road grounds can be joyous both in the moment and when viewed as memories. 

Although we are inside the beltway, spring on our grounds can make you feel like you are in a hollow high in the mountains of West Virginia. The Ostrich ferns (Matteuccia struthiopteris) in the foreground leaf out in early April.
One of my first memories of coming to River Road 20 years ago was seeing the trout lilies (Erythronium americanum) growing along the entrance driveway. For many years the Grounds Committee put up a sign pointing out these flowers.  
Another early memory of River Road is the many Shadbushes (Amelanchier) outside the sanctuary window. This is the only one of the original trees left. The flowering of these trees lets me know when to go shad fishing in the Potomac. Really. 
The front of our building has many redbud trees (Cercis canadensis) which is in the legume plant family (same as peas). Last year, one of the RE classes planted several young redbud trees that are just starting to leaf out. 
The flowers of a pawpaw tree (Asimina triloba) are pollinated by beetles and flies rather than bees. Our small grove of pawpaws came from seeds collected at Camp Tockwogh where we used to have our fall retreat. 
That’s all for this week. I’m hoping over the next couple of weeks to add some bird photos and to highlight the restoration activities going on.