March 24th, 2012. We returned to the Piedmont NWR to check on plants we saw on March 10th and took the same route as on our last trip. We took Starr Road from GA-83 south on through the Oconee National Forest into the NWR. We drove through Tribble Fields to the bridge over Little Falling Creek and then north to Pond 2A. We returned the way we’d come and then took the first road on the right down to the Round Tree – Juliette Rd, drove east and then back into the NWR on the first road on the left. From there we drove north to the intersection with Sugar Hill Road, turned west and forded Stalking Head Creek. We then drove north and took the first road on the right to ford Stalking Head Creek again, east past a small pond and southeast to meet Sugar Hill Road again and then east to GA-11.
We weren’t prepared for the display of blooming Flowering dogwoods (Cornus florida) in the area. In the woods behind our house, they bloom sparsely in the understory due to the lack of sunlight. In suburban gardens, they bloom densely due to abundant sunlight. In the Piedmont NWR, most dogwoods bloom in an ‘in between’ manner in the open pinewoods in which the Red-cockaded Woodpeckers (Picoides borealis) have established breeding colonies. I’m not usually impressed by flowering dogwoods but the display was overwhelming.
Along Starr Road in the Oconee WMA just north of the Piedmont NWR.
Along Sugar Hill Road, traveling west to the Stalking Head Creek ford.
Along Sugar Hill Road, traveling east towards Hillsboro.
A few trees were flowering densely.
In the Red-cockaded Woodpecker breeding colony areas the woods were filled with flowering dogwoods. The atmosphere was almost surrealistic.
A trip to the Piedmont NRW is really worthwhile when the dogwoods are blooming.
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- Southeastern Flora: Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood)
- Name that Plant: Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood)
- University of North Carolina Herbarium: Cornus florida
- USDA Plants Database: Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood)
- Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge: Atamasco Lily (Zephyranthes atamasco)
- Jasper County, Georgia: Red-banded Hairstreak (Calycopis cecrops)
- Jasper County, Georgia: New Life – Bracken Fern (Pteridium aquilinum) & Green-and-gold (Chrysogonum virginianum)