As I walked around the Rhododendron Loop yesterday (Thursday July 30), I did not see any blooms that were not past their prime. I was not correct in saying that there would be flowers to see in early August. Oh well. Thus is demonstrated the unpredictable nature of the natural world.
Even with all the hit and miss thunderstorm activity this region has experienced in the last two weeks, the ground at the grove is drier than one would think. That, and the very warm temperatures that we have seen recently may have some bearing on this quick season. And, of course, the unexpectedly early bloom that took place this year there as well.
As I have mentioned before, there are other things to experience at the grove besides the Rhododendron flowers. All sorts of birds can be seen and heard from the ground to the sky. The summer mushrooms are coming and going-they don’t last too long in this heat. A few wildflowers are blooming here and there, but most of those are gone by now. Woodland wildflowers commonly bloom in early to mid-spring, before the leaf canopy develops and the sunlight that reaches the forest floor is shaded.
Epipactis helleborine (“broad leaved helleborine”), in full flower now at the grove, is a rather common and weedy exotic orchid from Europe/Asia (?) that is found at the grove, among other places. It does not appear to be invasive yet in this location. Can you spot the crab spider in the picture? There are a few other insects as well.
The biting insects (mainly mosquitos, and now deerflies) have been on the light side this season at the grove, but they are still thicker than some places, so be prepared.
Until next time,
Monadnock State Park
P.O. Box 181
Jaffrey, NH 03452
603 532 8862