The Hills are Alive

By Philly Markowitz.

Environment-watchers and nature-lovers were concerned this March when spring turned up the heat to give us daytime highs of 27C or more then withheld the usual April showers, causing near-drought conditions. Many of us wondered what would become of certain species, especially migratory songbirds and the insects they feed on, and the fruit trees that burst into blossom two months early only to be blasted by frosts when temperatures returned to normal. In time we’ll learn the full impact of this spring’s yo-yo conditions.

For now, we know one thing for certain: the hills of the Bruce Trail are alive with blossoms.

Most spring flowers store their energy in the form of bulbs, corms and tubers, all of which were nourished by last summer’s near perfect growing conditions. Throughout May, a stunning array of floral colour and form will be on display along the Trail. Now is the ideal time to see a wide selection of native orchids including lady’s slippers and Dutchman’s breeches, plus trout lilies, trilliums, bloodroot, mayapple, hepatica, wild ginger and more. Add the iconic Jack-in-the-pulpit and you’re close to filling out May’s “wildflower life list“.

You can take yourself on a self-guided spring hike anywhere along the Bruce Trail, but to make it a “flower power hike”, go with an expert. On May 19, The Beaver Valley Bruce Trail Club in Grey County is hosting a wildflower walk in the high forest and rocky crags of the Kolapore Uplands (home to great mountain biking, skiing and climbing). Bring sturdy shoes, bug repellent, snacks and a camera to enjoy a laid-back and informative day on the trail.

Want more opportunities to see wildflowers on the Bruce Trail? Consider the Bruce Peninsula Orchid Festival in Tobermory on June 1 and 2.

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