Virginia Bluebells Herald Spring
Glorious Colonies of these Harbingers Can Be Found along the Potomac River & in Local Parks
Fairfax County Park Authority
"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.
These glorious flowers bloom, 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 a trumpet shape of light China blue that resemble little blue bells.”
On Saturday, April 15th the Riverbend Park Bluebell Festival will be held starting at 10 am. This is a great event for the entire family —you can hardly say you know Virginia if you have not experienced the site of these Bluebells in full glory. See the first signs of Spring - the carpet of Virginia Bluebells throughout the forest. Enjoy wildflower walks, face painting, live animals, moonbounce, music and more starting at 10 am, for ages 3 and up. ($8/$10, 703-759-9018) Because of the usually warm weather this year, you may wish to visit Riverbend or Manassas Battlefield Park during the first week of April to drink in the beauty of the Bluebells. They grow along the river easily viewed from footpaths.
Other abundant displays of Bluebells can be viewed at Manassas Battlefield Park and at Bull Run Park where just off the Bull Run Occoquan Trail (approximately 20 miles long) near Atlantis Waterpark lies the Bull Run Bluebell Trail, a one and a half mile loop that meanders through the forest around Bull Run. The second Saturday of each April you will find between 50 and 100 horsemen, divided into groups riding this trail during what is advertised appropriately as The Bluebell Ride. The first two weeks of April are the best time to explore the Bluebell trail, with over 25 varieties of wildflowers in bloom.
Riverbend Park: (just north of Great Falls National Park) 8700Potomac Hills St, Great Falls, VA 703- 759-9018
Manassas Battlefield Park: 12521 Lee Highway, Manassas, VA. 703-361-1339 x 0
Bull Run Park: 5400 Ox Road, Fairfax Station, VA