Spring wildflowers & canopy closing

April is the best month to see spring wildflowers in Carroll County.  One of my favorite spring flowers is Virginia bluebells.  Interestingly they are abundant in the Potomac, Susquehanna and Patuxent watersheds but missing entirely from the Patapsco watershed– most of Carroll County east of Parr’s Ridge (basically Route 27) is in the Patapsco watershed.  In the Carroll County Watershed map below, Liberty Reservoir is in the Patapsco Watershed while Double Pipe Creek is in the Monocacy watershed.

Since we live in the Patapsco watershed, we always go out to the Monocacy in Frederick county to see them.  It’s an easy half-day trip.  A favorite spot is the trail down to the kayak launch where Route 77 crosses the Monocacy.  But there were lots of cars parked when we went a couple of weeks ago so we went down to where Legore Bridge Road crosses the Monocacy and nobody was there.  But there were lots of bluebells and other wildflowers as we walked down the path to the river.  Let us know if you find other good sites.

Bluebells only bloom for a couple of weeks so hopefully you can still find some this weekend.  Canopy closure is the most significant ecological event of the year – when the trees put out their leaves shading the forest floor.  While a few trees will leaf out earlier, canopy closure usually occurs in the last week of April.  The deepening shade on the forest floor ends the wildflower season.

Goal:  Take a picture of a wildflower.  Advanced goal:  Use Seek to identify your wildflower.

Fair Entries:

  • Educational Poster – Canopy Closure, Native Wildflowers, Carroll’s Watersheds
  • Photo Series – wildflowers
  • Wildflower Collection – Start a wildflower collection by collecting and pressing bluebell.  What other native wildflowers can you find?  Do not collect any flowers unless there is an abundance.  You can also make your native flower collection with just pictures.
  • Electronic Educational Item – PowerPoint, Webpage, Quizlet, Kahoot, an easy Scratch game  or ….  
  • Make a Flower Press – Scroll down this link for some plans, https://www.proflowers.com/blog/how-to-press-flowers


I could not find a good resource for Maryland wildflowers so let me know if you have one.  But I’ve included a couple of places to start below

  1.  A Year Across Maryland by Bryan MacKay.
  2. Watershed Planning by Bryan Madigan, https://www.pwea.org/docs/Byron_Madigan.pdf
  3. Carroll County Watersheds, https://www.carrollcountymd.gov/government/directory/land-resource-management/resource-management/watersheds/
  4. Maryland Wildflowers https://msa.maryland.gov/msa/mdmanual/01glance/plants/wildflowers/html/wildflowers.html
  5. Maryland Biodiversity Project, https://www.marylandbiodiversity.com/

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