Spring surprises at Johnston Mill

March 13, 2012

trout lily at Johnston Mill Nature PreserveOver 20 participants joined TLC on Saturday for a historical tour of Johnston Mill.  Historian Stewart Dunaway talked about the rich cultural history of the area and we were also treated to a beautiful showing of early spring wildflowers.  From the Turkey Farm Road parking lot, we visited the old mill site.  Dunaway shared insights on both this site as well as the Robson Mill located on Duke Forest property.  The Johnston Mill site is most likely the historical remnants of an 1820s sawmill and powered by a flutter wheel.  The foundation remnants can still be seen in the stone walls across the creek.

Even though the water was high, the spring waters ran clear and the group could also see the wooden frame which also dates to the 1800s in the creek itself.  On our walk back in time, we saw some of the first true signs of spring.  The ground was carpeted with trout lilies and spring beauties, some of the first of our spring ephemerals to pop out.  We also found hepatica and toothwort which added a bit of color to the sea of yellow and white.  The spicebush was in bloom and added a bit of sweetness to the warm spring Saturday morning.

This was the first showing of a wave of spring ephemerals at Johnston Mill. There will likely be a new act for each of the weeks coming up.  Check out our Spring Guide to Johnston Mill to learn about some of the others flowers who will be a part of the show.

Stewart Dunaway leading the Historical Tour of Johnston Mill Nature Preserve

Stewart Dunaway leads our Historical Tour of Johnston Mill Nature Preserve.

flower at Johnston Mill Nature Preserve

Spring flowers are in full bloom! Above: Hepatica (liverleaf)

Exploring mill sites at Johnston Mill Nature Preserve

Our group explored the mill sites at Johnston Mill Nature Preserve.


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