Friday, May 20, 2011

What was lost is now found

I have been searching for something since the spring of 1988. Yesterday I found it. Rejoice with me!
“Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Doesn’t she light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’ In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
Luke 15:6-10
Over 20 years ago, the first spring I lived here, I was walking in the woods, checking it out, when a sigh of disgust at litter escaped my lips as I saw a partially inflated balloon stuck on some foliage. I went over to pick it up and discovered:

A lady's slipper! A native Indiana orchid! A Cypripedium pubescens! It is an uncommon wildflower, considered threatened in many Midwestern states.

My woods had been ravaged by the former owner who fenced it and kept goats. The goats were very destructive and we have worked hard to restore the woodlands. Every spring I searched the area where I found the lady's slipper and never found a trace. Yesterday, I was working in the woods, pulling garlic mustard, removing bush honeysuckle and marking tree starts. I was scanning every square inch of the woods, when I beheld the long-lost flower.

Oh, pretty one, where have you been?

Now for a bonus photo from the adjacent woods:

Now that's one giant jack-in-the pulpit.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Mow gingerly

I wrote this as a comment on a native plant blog, but decided I should share this story here.

About ten years ago, we planted redbuds and tulip poplars between our lane and the woods. As the trees matured, we noticed the wildflowers expanding their territory. Bloodroot, bluebells, and monarda were the first to appear. Then we discovered jacks, bleeding heart, native sunflowers, and asters. Of course, we stopped mowing this area until there was only a mower's width up the lane to allow access to the meadow.

I love wild ginger but failed in my two efforts to establish it here. Just last week I found several patches under those redbud trees. I really wonder how they traveled so far. I was so excited and dragged my husband out to see it several times. I envisioned a carpet of ginger under those trees.

Then Ricky mowed the lawn. You know what happened next, as he was just trying to keep the lane neat. My son felt so bad because my first response was tears. My second response was hope that the ginger responds to this pruning. The other flowers will do just fine.