Each year, after the snow melts and the ground softens from the harsh winter, Virginia Bluebells, Mertensia virginica, and other wildflower shoots push their way through the warming soil to absorb as much sunlight as they can before the tree leaves block them with shade. Shortly after, they put on an extravagant show by carpeting the forest floor in blue, violet and pink shades of splendor. The flowers of the bluebell bloom from March through June, releasing sweet nectar that attracts local bees and humming birds. The bees crawl out from hiding and stretch their wings as they buzz and dance around the new found abundance of flowering nectars. The bluebells first emerge from the ground with grayish- green foliage and sweeping clusters of pink buds. When the time is right, the buds unfasten themselves into trumpet shaped, light blue flowers that resemble little blue bells. A walk by the Stone Bridge and boardwalk would allow one to enjoy the view of blooming bluebells, the sounds of chorus frogs in nearby vernal pools, and maybe even catch a glimpse of a Ruby-throated Hummingbird hovering in search of nectar.
Did You Know?
George S. Patton III participated in military training exercises at Manassas Battlefield in 1939. His grandfather, Colonel George S. Patton, commanded the 22nd Virginia in the Civil War and was mortally wounded at the Battle of Third Winchester in September 1864.