Enjoying native plants is not just about using them in the garden for me. It’s good to go out and see them in the places where they grow naturally, to take note of the communities in which they live, and to enjoy the beautiful arrangements that nature has created with them. Last weekend the Georgia Botanical Society’s 42nd annual Wildflower Pilgrimage was in Clayton, GA, and I had a chance to go and enjoy some time in the woods.
|Tradescantia subaspera - at home in the woods|
Rabun County is one of the counties that borders North Carolina so we were in the mountains there. Field trips included tours of waterfalls, rich mountain coves, creeks, gaps, ridges and all the neat places associated with mountainous areas. But while each of them was lush with indigenous plants, it was disappointing to see how invasive plants have crept into even these places. The worst one in general was multiflora rose (Rosa multiflora). On roadsides it would cover huge areas, smothering native shrubs and small trees, shading out native perennials like Solomon’s seal (Polygonatum biflorum) and ferns that grew in abundance where the rose was not. Inside the woods, small populations of the rose were forming in sunnier areas, poised to take over should a tree fall and the canopy open up enough for it to become the thug it wanted to be.
Enough doom and gloom – let me show you some of the special things we found.
|Clintonia umbellulata - Clinton's lily|
|Geranium maculatum - was blooming heavily|
|Asclepias quadrifolia - fourleaf milkweed in the woods|
|Black raspberry was in abundance - Rubus occidentalis|
|Mountain laurel was in full bloom - Kalmia latifolia|
|Oxalis grandis - Look at the maroon edges|
|Trillium vaseyi - the last of the trilliums|
|Pipevine - Aristolochia macrophylla|
|Umbrella leaf grew in a wet area of a rich cove - Diphylleia cymosa|
By the way, if you’ve never read “A Walk in the Woods” by Bill Bryson, I highly recommend it. It is an amusing tale of one man’s determination to walk the Appalachian Trail and the adventures he has along the way.