Taking a Walk on the Wild Side

I had the opportunity to take two field trips with some native plant friends.  Our trip yesterday was to tour the gardens of another native plant member.  He bought the lot next to his house, and had spent several years developing it into a showplace.  He’s getting ready to move back to Oklahoma, and some lucky person is going to buy a treasure.

About 3 years ago, he put in a retention pond with a recirculating pump.  He dug and lined three ‘streams’ through his yard.  He added gravel and large rocks along the streambeds, then started putting in shade loving plants.  It was the most amazing ‘manmade’ stream and pond I’ve ever seen.

DSC_1726 DSC_1762You can barely see the water flowing down the hill with all the huge ferns and other shade loving plants.


Greg lugged in every large stone, most of the moss covered logs, and tons of soil, slate chips, and mulch.  It has been a labor of love for 15 years.  While mostly native, he has put in some nonnatives such as hosta.  The ferns are so lush and big, it’s hard to believe they are real.  However, much of the tremendous growth is a result of weekly watering from the well he had dug just for watering his native gardens.

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Our second field trip was to a sanctuary in West Point to see the Shoal Lilies in bloom.  These are a species of Carolina Spider lilies, one of the most spectacular native wildflowers.  They have been in bloom for a couple of weeks and will continue to bloom for a short while.  Then the seeds will ripen by late June.  The owner invited  us to come back in June and collect some seeds for our restoration project at Buffalo Creek Trail.  The sight of these lilies was just breathtaking, and no pictures could ever do them justice.

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Hopefully, in a few years, our own Buffalo Creek will look like this!


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