Bluebells and Redbuds at Battlefield Park
The bluebells and redbuds were blooming at the same time this past weekend at the Manassas Battlefield Park, about a week-and-a-half ahead of schedule due to our recent warm weather. It was a beautiful scene along Bull Run near the Stone Bridge, with bluebells providing a carpet of blue along the forest floor and redbuds providing splashes of lavender along the stream's bank.
The bluebell is a native perennial plant that can grow up to 2.5 feet tall and prefers moist, wooded areas. The flowers in the bud stage are light pink but become light blue with maturity. The foliage of the bluebells dies down by mid-summer. The bluebells prefer shade or partial sun.
Keep reading for more photos and descriptions of the bluebells and redbuds.
The redbud is a small, native tree that produces clusters of magenta flowers in spring. Redbuds can grow 20 to 30 feet tall and have wide-spreading branches. The redbud, like the bluebell, prefers a shady environment. The redbud flowers bloom on the tree well before the leaves appear and sometimes grow out of the main branches and trunk.
The location where I photographed is the well-known Stone Bridge, on the eastern end of the Manassas Battlefield Park where Rt. 29 crosses Bull Run. The National Park Service has a parking lot next to the bridge and there are miles of hiking trails accessible from the location. The Stone Bridge was a focal point for the Union troops crossing Bull Run during the Battle of First Manassas on July 21, 1861. The bridge was also destroyed during the battle. There is a war-time photo of the Stone Bridge included at the bottom of this post.
I have been running the trails at the Manassas Battlefield Park since I was in high school. There are many different loops and trail systems that can be accessed at various locations throughout the park. As the Northern Virginia landscape has transformed and been developed over the years, the woods and fields in the park have remained virtually unchanged. I enjoy running the same trails today as I did when I was in high school. The only difference is that I never noticed the bluebells and redbuds during my high school years, but I do now.
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