Trails on the north slope of Grandad Bluff will have wildflowers again thanks to a $2,500 grant from the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin through their Wisconsin Pollinator Protection Fund. The funding supports the efforts of Friends of the Blufflands to restore spring ephemerals to this area of the forest.
Grandad Bluff’s north side is a northern hardwood forest dominated by maple trees. The maples shade out understory plants. Spring ephemerals are plants evolved to leaf out, bloom and set seed early in the spring, after the snow but before the leaves have opened on the trees. Spring ephemerals that would normally be here are missing from this part of the forest.
This grant will pay for seeds and plants to reintroduce Virginia bluebells, Dutchman’s breeches, cut leaf toothwort, bloodroot, hepatica, trillium and other flowering plants to the forest. Spring ephemerals are a critical early source of nectar and pollen for bumble bees and other pollinators, giving them a good start on the year.
These beautiful wild flowers will also benefit spring trail users on the trail connecting to the Grandad Bluff viewpoint parking lot.