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Often referred to as “spring ephemerals,” these delicate wildflowers, such as white and red trilliums, spring beauty, bloodroot, toothwort, wild ginger, blue cohosh and violets are typical to New England forests. They take advantage of the small window when conditions are just right: plenty of moisture from melting snow, soil that has started to warm as a result of the spring temperatures, and sunlight that can still reach through the limbs of tall trees that have yet to leaf out.
What makes this display at Bart’s Cobble so unique is the sheer number and diversity of plants in a very small area. So rare is this display that “the Cobble” was designated as a National Natural Landmark in 1971, the second in Massachusetts. Bordering the Housatonic River in Sheffield, the 329-acre reservation is dense with unique rock outcroppings, small caves, and over 800 plant species, including 29 listed by the Massachusetts Natural Heritage and Endangered Species program, and 53 species of ferns and fern allies – one of the most diverse and natural assemblages of ferns in the United States.
Wildflowers, however, aren’t the only amazing part of the festival. During the winter, volunteers from three states give their time to become wildflower guides. They are trained extensively in the ecology and geology of the property and then learn to craft their own wildflower tours. Each guide brings something unique to the festival, but all are passionate about teaching others the magic and science of these gorgeous plants at this spectacular property.
Daily tours will begin April 15, at 10AM, 12PM and 2PM, at approximately 45 minutes in length; $5 for Trustees members and $10 for nonmembers. Each tour has limited space; reservations for groups larger than five are strongly recommended.
For more information about the Spring Wildflower Festival at Bartholomew’s Cobble and a full list of activities, visit www.thetrustees.org. You can also contact Carrieanne at 413.298.3239 x3013 or email email@example.com.