Tim and I headed back to the hills on Saturday, with friends Signe and Ron, to stretch our legs and revisit the trout lilies at the Chandler Heritage Preserve. We weren’t disappointed. Now at the peak of bloom, thousands of trout lilies are flowering on the short trail between Persimmon Ridge and the granite outcrop that overlooks northern Greenville County. The lilies are tiny and hard to photograph, but the pic below will give you an idea of how thickly they cover the forest floor.
Here is a better look at a single plant glowing in the afternoon light.
Then, early Sunday, I headed to the Paris Mountain area, located just five miles north of downtown, to collect a few native plants on offer from my friend Suzy. Suzy shared a generous handful of cranefly orchids (Tipularia discolor) from a large patch growing at her farm, and a heart’s-a-bustin’ (Euonymus americanus), which I planted in the woodland area between the house and the river.
The native orchid has a two-part lifecycle. In winter, it produces a single leaf that is green on top and purple below. The foliage dies in late spring and a couple months later, in July or August, the plant produces a flower spike with dozens of tiny orchids. For more info on this unique native, look here.
Recently, I’ve started a new project in the woodland, just beyond the stone retaining wall that supports the backyard, but I can’t take credit for its progress. I’ve hired a fellow to build stone steps that will allow me navigate the steep terraces on the north-facing slope down to the river. The idea is to keep the woodland as natural as possible, but to gain better access so that I don’t slip and break my neck. As you can see, there will be two stairways connected by a long, straight path.
The red and white flags you see in the photos mark areas where native perennials grow.
The native plants in my shady woodland are just beginning to emerge, however, so I explored my neighbor’s sunnier slope and found the first bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis) in bloom, as well as the first flowering sweet Betsy trillium (Trillium cuneatum).
It was a terrific weekend for wildflowers, don’t you think?