a walk in the woods

aisgecko(7b Raleigh)April 7, 2008

It's amazing what you can find sometimes getting off the beaten path. I posted about that strange daffodil I found recently. On that same walk, same area I also saw lots of other things.

that odd daffodil

tons of dog's tooth violets (trout lilies)

an unknown cute purple flower (size of a violet)

literally thousands of luecojem (snowflakes)

Sorry, my photography is not so great as some peoples. This was in a sort of woodsy "no-mans" land off of crabtree creek. I also saw some Claytonia (spring beauty) near there one year, but I couldn't find any this time. Either they got mowed down or they just hadn't quite started yet.

The trout lilies were the nicest surprise. I'd never seen so many growing in the wild, though they were scattered somewhat and had just started so I didn't get a picture of a good group.

The only thing that comes close is the time my husband and I stumbled across a huge patch of trilliums in full bloom. They varied in shades from purple to white as far as we could see. Just gorgeous!

What are your greatest finds? (oh, and anyone know what that purple flower is?) -Ais.

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rootdiggernc(Z-7A NC)

Beautiful pics Ais, I love the dog tooth violet and that daf is awesome!! Is it fragrant too?

    Bookmark   April 7, 2008 at 9:17AM
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Tammy Kennedy

your mystery purple flower looks like honesty to me (silver dollars) lunaria. if it gets more of those purple flowers on an ever increasing branching bloom stalk, that's what it is. The dollars will form later in the season. The trilliums you saw would have been grandiflorums, and it must have been west of here. they don't do really well here, and fade to pink/purple as they age. All along the parkway you can see hillsides covered in them if you go at the right time in spring. They are one of the first wildflowers i took note of as a kid and are still one of my very favorites. To me, they symbolized my mom & dad's wedding, as they bloomed about the same time and it was one of their favorites.

Some of the plant rescues i've been on have been stunning- one in particular. Fields of trillium cuneatum, a huge steep bank of bloodroot so thick it looked like snow, massive swathes of trout lilies (for a local peek try swift creek park or hemlock bluffs), a big, tall bluff with ferns, asarum and hepaticas tucked in every mossy cranny, greeny yellow blooms on spicebush sprinkled throughout , newly palmate foliage of yellow buckeyes in big drifts, purple new foliage of cineraria and wood asters in clumps all over, sweeps of green dragons, lots of mayapples , banks covered in spring beauty and toothwort, and amazingly, much more than i recall. Truly breathtaking. So pretty i nearly cried- and, of course, i didn't have my camera. All was out at what now is the Randelman reservoir, underwater. I feel privileged to have seen it, but am so sad it got flooded. It really was like a fairyland come to life. One i did have my camera for was closer to home- a bluff with huge patches of iris cristata all in bloom. Unfortunately, i accidentally deleted the best pix of it. Boy was i kicking myself that night!! That site also had a big floodplain of a mix of many wildflowers, just coming up among the poison ivy- yellowroot, jack in the pulpits, yellow buckeyes, trout lilies, violets, thalictrum, and more i'm forgetting now. I should take notes after the saves.

Up north close to where i grew up there was a neat little pocket of trillium grandiflorums, trout lilies, phlox and hepatica that all bloomed in close proximity to each other near a stream and tiny pond. It was a hike up into an old coal strip mine around the corner from our house and hardly anyone knew about it. It was my private meditation place. They closed off access after someone hid a dead body up there when i was a teen (not close to 'my' spot). Across the road from mom's house there was a really nice patch of trilliums, skunk cabbage and some other spring wildflowers that grew next to a stream. By late spring it was hard to get in there for the poison ivy, though. There was also a little nook i discovered only once way up past the strip mine that was like cathedral of pine trees set in a bowl with a mossy sun dappled center. You could almost see the fairies dance in there- it's more of a dream than a memory now. I almost wonder if i really went but am certain i did. I was maybe 10 or 12. Many times i've longed to go back, but i doubt it's there anymore- it's all been sold off now. Someday i will attempt to paint that vision in my head.

Up home there was a neat little park/hike that went along a stream about 1/2 mile back to an old furnace and gorgeous waterfall called hell's hollow. I don't know if the patches of wildflowers had been planted along it or they were wild, but it was much like blomquist garden out at duke gardens with patches of phlox, columbine, jacks, dutchman's breeches, bloodroot, trilliums and more. Really wonderful, but becoming too well 'loved', used & known by the time i left PA- so i have a feeling t is not so nice now. Those places don't hold up really well to a constant onslaught of foot traffic, esp where there's no warden presence to keep people in check. This one was such a narrow corridor of beauty it wouldn't take much to trample it to oblivion. I'm sure the foundry and waterfall are still there. I don't know if it's a northern or country thing, but people (mostly teens) tended to party and trash those sorts of public park areas up there. Maybe it's taken for granted because it's fairly common to have those type of wildflower pockets up there- i don't know, but it's distressing. A lot of teens apparently just though of it as a conveniently hidden place to party & park. They always did the same at McConnell's Mills, too - another treasure. I haven't noticed that here so much or even in the mountains down here. 'Course i don't know about the local hidey holes, either-so maybe that's where the boozy teens go here & there.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2008 at 9:46AM
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The path around the Duke Golf Course has many beautiful wildflowers -- violets, purple hepatica, an entire bank of trout lilies, bloodroot and wild geranium.

We used to visit a park near Washington PA that was like a giant wildflower garden -- banks of May apple, bloodroot, Trillium grandiflorum, Virginia bluebell, wild geranium and Monarda. There were also beautiful wild milkweeds, coreopsis and I can't even recall what else in summer. Truly amazing.

We also visited Enlow Fork in PA that was literally covered in Blue-Eyed Mary every spring, in the river bottom. That and Va. bluebell, bloodroot, dutchman's breeches and trillium.

We always find stuff when walking around our farm. I think the wetness really contributes to the diversity. And the fact that we're surrounded by acres and acres of undeveloped bottomland. Some of my favorites are the wild crabapple, green coneflower, American beautyberry, Parsley-leaf hawthorn, colonies of soapwort, and vast numbers of Atamasco lilies. Not to mention the birds too -- I regularly see prothonotary warblers and wood ducks in the sloughs by the creek.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2008 at 10:19AM
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mad_about_mickey(**7* *N.C.)

I'm glad you posted the pix of that daff. I have a whole bunch of them. Does any one know anything else about them? The ones I have have already bloomed, they are around the base of a birdfeeder.They have been in ground here for at least 3-4 years. I thought they were ones I had dug and brought from NJ, but don't recall having that kind..all the others are single , (I guess its called).Any input would be appreciated.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2008 at 10:58AM
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I forgot to mention this -- not exactly a find, because you could walk right out the front door and find them -- but my parents have pink lady's slippers in their yard. I'm always surprised by the size of the flowers. They're even more gorgeous than in pictures.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2008 at 12:02PM
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The best Mother's Day present ever was when my husband took me to what had been a Boy Scout camp (soon to become a housing development) to see literally thousands of pink lady slippers in flower. What an amazing sight! Later I was able to get permission to dig and rescue some of them, but now there are houses where they used to be. In the mts. I almost went into shock when I saw hundreds of purple fringed orchids in a rocky seep below a road. Wow! Unfortunately somebody stole those plants. Near that same area I also saw a dinner plate orchid, I think Plantanthera orbiculata, which had basal leaves really the size of a dinner plate. Every time I get to walk in the woods I discover great things. Tamelask, glad you got to see Randleman in all its glory. That was the most diverse site I think I have ever seen. I love to go on rescues, but that site will never be matched.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2008 at 7:40PM
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Tammy Kennedy

Amen! It made me so sad that it hadn't had walking trails before that- it really should have been appreciated, and i hope there's at least a little of that amazing diversity left on the higher slopes and they make trails. I really wish i'd taken a camera that first time, but we went so far back in and were there for many hours, so it was probably a good thing i didn't. We went back there 2 or 3x, and i did have it on the later trip but most of the early ephemerals were done then. Saw some possum babies up close.

It's such a shame that more of those PLS didn't get rescued. Glad you got some at least. I went on a neat PLS rescue few yrs ago. There were quite a few- probably 200+ or so plants, but it was past bloom time so we didn't get to see that. Homeowner that had many acres and finally capitulated to development to retire (wealthy i presume, as it wasn't far from the Cary). Nice couple, neat house and really pretty land. They actually had a pullen park sized train set up going through the woods for their kids, years before.

I always love coming across the yellow fringed orchids in the mtns. One time we hiked part of the mtn to sea trail from Pisgah Inn and i saw a purple fringed orchid. Gorgeous. Btw, if anyone ever goes up to Mt. Pisgah Inn and stays or even just eats, the trail that runs behind and back down towards the pink beds is rife with wildflowers. You really don't have to go far to see an amazing variety. We've never hiked down to the waterfall- we go maybe 1/2 mi, is all, since it's very steep & switch-backy much past 1/4 mi. It's a really neat place to stay since you have 180 degree views from every room and the dining room. Plus the food is very reasonable and very good!

    Bookmark   April 8, 2008 at 9:38PM
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jqpublic(7b/8a Wake County NC)

I was walking around a tennis park (the name escapes me) that is right by Crabtree Mall/Creek. There seems to be an abundance of painted buckeye in that area of the forest. It was quite beautiful! I could be mistaken on the name, but they were about to bloom and I know they are one of the earlier species to leaf out.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2008 at 4:41AM
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The development I live in (Woodcroft, in Durham) has maintained wooded 'buffers' in some of the common areas around walking trails and many of the houses have partially wooded lots. I was thrilled when I started seeing trout lilies, asarum and what I guess is leucojem in and near my back yard. There isn't the diversity that you would find in a larger, untouched area, but it's still nice to see.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2008 at 7:52AM
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karen__w(z7 Durham, NC)

In walking my woods the past few days I've been pleased to see emerging foliage from our native Carolina lily (L. michauxii). Last year there were no flowers and precious little sign of them above ground, but I've got foliage popping up all over this spring. I'm glad, because I had given all my seeds away.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2008 at 1:53PM
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