Virginia bluebell season is around the corner so plan now to see carpets of this ephemeral wildflower here in Virginia. Although mid-April has been the peak time in the past, it may come earlier since we had such a mild winter. Here are a few places in Northern Virginia to view colonies of bluebells; some places are already reporting blossoms now in March.
Bluebells (Mertensia virginica) are synonymous with early spring. Their blue trumpet-shaped flowers bloom above the green foliage in deciduous woodlands before the trees leaf out. These perennials emerge early in the year, bloom for a few weeks in March or April, and then die back to become dormant in the summer. The plants like the moist soil of the forest, high in organic matter. They self-seed and create colonies which is why you will see carpets of blue in the parks below. If you look closely, you will see that the buds are pink opening up to blue but the overall effect is a blue haze. These are native wildflowers, but you can purchase the plants from nurseries.
Balls Bluff Regional Battlefield Park (Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority), Balls Bluff Road, Leesburg.
Bull Run Regional Park (Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority), 7700 Bull Run Drive, Centerville. This park has a Bluebell Trail just off the Bull Run Occoquan Trail near the Atlantis Waterpark.
Great Falls Park (National Park Service), 9200 Old Dominion Drive, McLean.
Manassas National Battlefield Park (National Park Service), 6511 Sudley Road, Manassas. Best view is from the Stone Bridge.
Merrimac Farm (Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries), 15014 Deepwood Lane, Nokesville.
Riverbend Park (Fairfax County Park Authority), 8700 Potomac Hills Street, Great Falls. Riverbend Park is celebrating bluebells on Saturday, April 8, 2023, from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. There is a fee for attending this family event; however, the public can visit anytime to view the bluebells.
Scott’s Run Nature Preserve (Fairfax County Park Authority). 7400 Georgetown Park, McLean.
Turkey Run Park (National Park Service), George Washington Memorial Parkway, McLean.