I have not posted anything on Word Press for awhile, but thought some might enjoy my thoughts written while on facebook and shared with fellow alumni from the first four classes of Florida Presbyterian College, now Eckerd College.
My husband and I spent four weeks at our log home near Meadows of Dan, Virginia. We were there the whole month of May. Usually, the wildflowers are mostly gone and we mainly have wild azaleas and rhododendron blooming around our home. This year was entirely different. It was basically cool the first two weeks of May, like having March in May. Incredible wildflowers were all over the mountain side and all over our yard; many we had not seen before. I have just posted a few photos, but from the written description, you will get the names of many we saw!
Wildflowers from Bob & Liboo Woodward Cook
The Smokey Mountains and their foothills is a marvelous deciduous forest. In winters the trees are bare; sound carries for miles; snow lays deep in hollows and everything slows down.
Then comes spring.
The sun begins to shine and the morning fogs & rains water the dormant plants and seeds. Before spreading leaves close the forest canopy, sunshine reaches that damp forest floor and wildflowers explode.
These wildflowers don’t last long. Actually they are called ‘Spring Ephemerals.’
Because of the spring ephemerals, Wildflower National Park is an alternate name for Smokey Mountain National Park. People flock to the park to see those wildflowers. There are many organized tours. HOWEVER, have you noticed that many of us, Fiddler Crabs, now live in the forest? They get to ‘mosey out’ of their front doors and live with these wonders.
Liboo Woodward Cook has been posting on FACEBOOK, about her spring ephemerals:
May 3rd – We arrived in the mountains of Virginia at our log home about a week ago…have so many beautiful wildflowers I could share…it has been a bit too rainy for me most days (and foggy..wonder why they call it Smokey Mts)…but today was beautiful!
We have kept the area around our log home natural…think that has helped! We have native azaleas, rhododendron, mountain laurel, and dogwoods…all of which were here on the property when we decided to build. Our contractor was really conscientious about leaving a small footprint for our home.
I posted an album with a trillium and also something called bellwort! Bob loves taking pictures here. He took some more this afternoon. I posted a beautiful purple trillium this morning! Our place is near the Blue Ridge Parkway and Mabry Mills…in Southwest Virginia
Apple tree blossoms
Bloodroot .has a very distinctive leaf which pushes its way through the frost-encrusted soil. The snowy-white flower
rises above the leaf in a day or two. By this you know
warmer temperatures are on the way. The plant’s name
comes from the red or orange sap that flows freely
whenever its stem or root is cut or broken. Sadly,
unscrupulous persons illegally harvest tens of thousands of
plants every year for their commercial value!
Mayapple…Prolific and grows in huge groups on the
forest floor. Its leaves look like miniature beach umbrellas.
Under the umbrella leaves is a shape that looks like a small
apple which eventually opens into a pretty white flower.
Wild Oats or Bellwort…he flowers attach directly
to the stem. The bell part of the name is an obvious
reference to the bell-shaped flowers. This plants loves rich
soil and moist conditions and can cover a large area of the
forest floor, grouping much like the Mayapple.
Fire Pink -..not as common as some of the others. Often
found on rocky areas.
I think the picture of the beautiful cluster of blue
flowers on the rocks shows the Bluet wildflower..
Trillium…many different varieties of this..- it is
very prevalent throughout the forest floor. Most common is
the large flowered trillium..often seen in white and shades
of pink. The Trillium with the purple or dark almost blood
red flower is called Vasey’s Trillium.
I know this is a really common wildflower, but Bob took
a nice picture of one of the many wild strawberry plants!
Another new wildflower for us…growing by the large
creek. It is called, I think, Great Solomon Seal…The plant
itself was probably four feet tall…flowers on the stem tiny!
This may be the last “new” discovery for us. I do
not remember the mountain being covered with blooming
tulip trees…gorgeous! (The tulip tree is called a Mountain
Magnolia tree (my cousin corrected me)…
Great Solomon Seal
[Liriodendron tulipifera — known as the tulip tree, American tulip tree, tuliptree, tulip poplar, whitewood, fiddle-tree and yellow poplar — is the Western Hemisphere representative of the two-species genus Liriodendron, and the tallest eastern hardwood.]
Tulip Tree flower
“Just when one thinks they have
found every wildflower there is to find
, this one shows up this morning as we
are clearing out broken branches. I at
first thought it was a fungus, but went
to my wonderful wildflower book and it
is Squawroot! It says you have to get
down on your knees to find it, so BOB did and took
this picture. It also says that it is a favorite plant of black bears!”
May 25 –
We saved the best for the last!! The pink lady’s slipper. We have four blooming. According to the book, these become rarer each year. They are so unique…we feel fortunate to have found them on our property! We tred carefully near them…the book says that people have been digging then up and trying to replant them but they always die…the book won’t even say where they are located on the
Blue Ridge Parkway!
Pink Lady Slipper
These are photos from Bob and Liboo Woodward Cook showing their cabin and some of the spring flowers this 2013 spring season. Oh, this is Photographer Bob with Billie Jean, their granddog, and that was Liboo in front of the cabin.