Ghost Flower

I have been fascinated by these ethereal flowers for a long time. On hikes in the Adirondacks, I would often find large clusters of them growing deep in the north woods. I’ve also seen them in nearby parks, but this year is the first time I’ve seen them in my yard. The cluster in my… Continue reading Ghost Flower

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Major Wheeler Honeysuckle

Growing up, before knowing how they were taking over the country, I loved honeysuckles. As a child, I enjoyed sipping the flowers, a tiny taste of honeyed sweetness. In middle and high school they always flowered around the time I was taking my final exams, and after hours of study I would step out into… Continue reading Major Wheeler Honeysuckle

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Diving Into Summer

Although most of my garden is either native with plants growing wild here, or introductions I have made with plants that would grow here if it was a less disturbed forest, occasionally I add plants that have value either to pollinators or to my preferences, or both. Growing up I remember fondly a small stand… Continue reading Diving Into Summer

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Pretty But Poisonous

My garden is designed to create a welcoming habitat for a variety of wildlife, so I was pleased this week to have an amphibian visitor, this pickerel frog. My love of frogs goes back to early childhood. My father, aunt and I would make an annual pilgrimage to the swamps of upstate New York in… Continue reading Pretty But Poisonous

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Fairy Candle

Black cohosh is flowering now in my forest, apparently enjoying the string of 90-degree days and high humidity as summer approaches. It has an assortment of colorful names. My favorite is fairy candle, because when the last light hits them in the forest they seem lit up like fanciful candles. My first memory of this… Continue reading Fairy Candle

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Wandflower

The first time I remember seeing wandflower was at Duke Gardens. I was visiting there with my aunt and uncle, who retired to Durham while I was living nearby. I would go on walks and hikes with them every weekend for the four years we overlapped, except in summer when they escaped the North Carolina… Continue reading Wandflower

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Gregory Bald Azaleas

The meadows at the tops of some higher peaks in the southern Appalachians, locally known as balds, have spawned many theories. Possibly no one explanation fits them all, ranging from lightning fires to soil conditions. One of the more intriguing ideas is cold weather during the Ice Age prevented trees from growing on some summits,… Continue reading Gregory Bald Azaleas

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True Purpose of False Flowers

Last week I mentioned my fondness for true Solomon’s seal. My dad’s early explanation of the names for the true and false Solomon’s seal, suggesting the true was a better plant than the false, imprinted a prejudice that still lingers. This week I worked hard to overcome my bias as the false Solomon’s seal started… Continue reading True Purpose of False Flowers

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True or False?

My dad would always bring along his trusty flower field guides when we headed north for the summer. Upstate New York is full of amazing flora, and we found everything from carnivorous plants in lonely bogs to alpine flowers on the highest Adirondack peaks. There were also many flowers we saw each year in the… Continue reading True or False?

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