Sunday afternoon, January 15 provided an unseasonably mild day for our Bones of the Winter Landscape Hike on the Byron Shutz Nature Trail. Betsy Betros, local naturalist and butterfly book author, took the following pictures of our hike and I thought I would share this “nature of” Powell Gardens experience here.
Here’s one of the old Loblolly Pines (Pinus taeda)admired by the hike participants. This pine has very long needles and is very tolerant of our wet or dry clay soils and has also naturalized extensively in our “pine woods.” This is one of the farthest north places this normally Southern tree grows on its own. (see the little pine seedlings in the foreground and larger “teenager” pines behind it) It’s only problem is that the long needles collect ice and make it susceptible to ice storm damage. The final leg of the hike returned to the Visitor Center while admiring emerging blooms of Vernal Witchhazel in the Rock & Waterfall Garden and Snowdrops blooming on the Island Garden. Everyone got a good workout and I hope learned more about our winter landscape. February’s hike will focus on birds and the Great Backyard Bird Count.