Back to Bluebells


Spring is in full flower in Virginia. Though the cherry trees surrounding the Jefferson Memorial may be the best known example of the region’s spring beauty, I prefer the profusion of bluebells that explode along the Potomac River at this time of year. Hiking with a friend along the Heritage Trail at River Bend Park, we floated through acres of the sky blue flowers. On both sides of the path, the pale green foliage was covered with a cloud of blue. Virginia bluebells (Mertensia virginica) are wildflowers native to eastern North America. The tall flower stalks are crowned with clusters of tiny bell-shaped flowers that start out as magenta buds and open into pure light blue, then darken before they fade. Occasionally a white bluebell (a blancbell?) stands out like a ghost in a cluster of blue. With sun slanting through the budding trees and a soft breeze tossing the bells to and fro, it was easy to imagine I was sleeping and this was all a beautiful dream. The experience certainly left me inspired and restored.