Saturday, February 27, 2010

Native Plant and Wildflower Pilgrimages

The time of spring wildflowers is coming, and very soon.  Two conferences are scheduled for Southwest Georgia and North Florida around the Apalachicola River Basin and the Land Between the Rivers that form the Apalachicola: Florida Native Plant Society Conference in May and Georgia Botanical Society Wildflower Pilgrimage in 2 weeks.

The Botanical Society Pilgrimage will meet in Bainbridge, GA. When I learned about it, registration had already closed. I'll share some field trip high points from the schedule:
Lower Flint River Float Trip, beginning south of Albany and ending in Mitchell County, limestone bedrock exposed from steep bluffs.

Bend in Flint River from a Bluff on Ichauway Plantation.

Exploratory Trip to Silver Lake WMA - Silver Lake was recently sold to the Georgia DNR by International Paper Co and covers more than 8,000 acres, including vast stands of undisturbed native groundcover along the shores of Silver Lake.

Angus Gholson Nature Park - I found a delightful video from the dedication of the park in Chattahoochee, FL

Wolf Creek Trout Lily Tract is a 140 acre Preserve owned by Grady County, the greatest expanse of the Erythronium umbilicatum anywhere in the world. Trout lily flowers may be seen along with terrestrial orchids and other native flowers.

Maclay Gardens in Tallahassee is 28 acres of lakeside gardens with Kurume and Indica alaleas, camellias, hollies and native plants.

Three Rivers Recreation Area, Sneads, FL where Florida meets the southwest corner of GA and the Chattahoochee and Flint rivers form Lake Seminole. The water spilling out of the lake forms the Apalachicola River. The schedule names many native animals and plants. Among the species expected to see in bloom is Calycanthus floridus.

Sweet Shrub, Calycanthus floridus from my garden.

Jones Ecological Research Center, Ichauway - the focus of the trip to Jones Center will be the longleaf pine ecosystem and a riparian hardwood forest. When I visit the Jones center, my interest is focused on the native azaleas and the Butterfly Garden. I'll show my pics of the native azaleas in another post.

The visit to Seminole State Park will be the Gopher Tortoise Trail. The trip leader will discuss plants and animals in both sandhill and wetland habitat. I showed a gopher turtle burrow here in the fall when we discussed native grasses.

Trillium Gardens, Tallahassee is a 7 acre privately owned preserve. Among the native plants there besides wetland plants and other wild flowers is the rare Torreya taxifolia.

Torreya at Jones Center

Florida Caverns State Park supports a Coastal Plain mesic hardwood forest and wildflowers. Among the flowers are southern columbine and blue phlox.

Native Columbine at Jones Center

... and more field trips highlighting native plant communities, native trees, shrubs and wildflowers -- led by botanists and local plant specialists.

Link to Florida Native Plant Society Conference. Registration closes May 9

One of the attractions will be Bailey White, author and NPR favorite, speaking on The Joys and Horrors of Inheriting an Old Family Garden. Ms. White is from Thomasville, which she refers to as being from 'a small town in Southwest Georgia' so that it won't sound as if she's bragging.

Rooted in History, Forever Blooming


  1. I really enjoy educational trips like these. What a wonderful resource.

  2. Hi Nell Jean, In my beginning SouthDakota gardening days I order sweet shrub. I've never seen the shrub, but the descriptions were so nice. It didn't make it and now that I think of it, I don't know anyone who grows one around here. So, it was nice to see your picture. Now if I only could smell it. Gloria

  3. Hi, Nell Jesn, Sorry I haven't visited lately ... been doing some traveling. I've signed up for some spring classes at Rutgers U. in New Jersey. I enjoy the trips even more and hope to catch some now spring is nearly here. Love the sweet shrub and have several in my garden. Good post! Thanks. Pamela x


I look forward to comments and questions and lively discussion of gardening and related ideas.

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