This morning Hugh read from Barbara Kingsolver, "Small Wonder" (2002), anthologized in Bill McKibben, American Earth: Environmental Writing Since Thoreau, " page 947.
People need wild places. Whether or not we think we do, we do. We need to be able to taste grace and know once again that we desire it. We need to experience a landscape that is timeless, whose agenda moves at the pace of speciation and glaciers. To be surrounded by a singing, mating, howling commotion of other species, all of which love their lives as much as we do ours, and none of which could possibly care less about our economic status or our running day calendar.
Wildness puts us in our place. It reminds us that our plans are small and somewhat absurd. It reminds us why, in those cases in which our plans might influence many future generations, we ought to choose carefully. Looking out on a clean plank of planet earth, we can get shaken right down to the bone by the bronze-eyed possibility of lives that are not our own.
Given heavy rains that have muddied up the nature trails, and the recent herbiciding and cutting down of woody plants in the Power Line Right of Way, we decided to ramble in the Garden hitting the native plant sections.
In the Southeastern Wildflower section we saw Virginia Spiderwort (Tradescantia virginiana), ironweed (Vernonia gigantia), black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta), as well as Bee Balm (Mondarda didyma), and Wild White Indigo (Baptisia alba). Crossing the International Bridge, we viewed the lovely lotus in full bloom with a grasshopper. Next were the buckeyes of the bottle-brush buckeye (Aesculus parviflora). The long leaf pine (Pinus palustris) was not doing well, but the dawn redwood (Metasequoia glyptostroboides) was doing great. What i thought of as a surprise lily was the golden spider lily (Lycoris aurea).
In the endangered plant garden we discussed the Alabama snowreath (Neviusia alabamensis), which in Georgia is found on Pigeon Mountain on limestone ledges on the opposite side from the Pocket. A few scraggly royal catchfly (Silene regia), the plum leaf azalea (Rhododendron prunifolia) was about at its end, as was the white meadow beauty (Rhexia mariana). Here we also noted the Oglethorpe Oak (Quercus oglethorpensis) that Wilbur Duncan was the first to identify.
The pitcher plant bog was full of meadow beauty (Rhexiana alifanus?), yellow trumpets (Sarracenia flava), white-topped pitcher plants (Sarracenia leucophylla), parrot pitcher plant (Sarracenia psittacina).
Around the corner was coreopsis (Coreopsis grandiflora) from rock outcrops as well as Wild Blue Indigo (Baptisia austrias) in fruit, and Hairy Rattleweed (Baptisia arachnifera) that only grows in one county in Georgia and nowhere else.
In the Indian plant section was some kind of Lobelia sp., Black Cohosh (Actea racemes) going to seed, and the deciduous wild ginger (Asarum arifolium).
We then proceeded to the Physic Garden and found Joe-Pye-Weed (Eupatorium sp), Rattlesnake Master (Eryngium yuccifolium), Wild quinine (Parthenium integrifolium), common mullein (Verbascum thapsus). In the Dr. Durham section we found a green basil, purple coneflower, and feverfew.(Tanacetum parthenium). In another patch we found eyeball or toothache plant. The flower was like an eyeball and the leaves were used for easing toothache pain. A great find was an american toad that Dale showed us how to tell a toad by a gland behind the eye.
Taking the path to the Heritage Garden we noted that the PawPaw (Asimina triloba) still had some fruits. Nearby was a blackberry lily (Belamcanda chinensis) which is from China, but has become naturalized in our area. Passed some luscious looking figs and came to the tall corn "As high as an elephant's eye," which Avis thought should be a Mastodon's eye they were so tall.
Going down steps into the flower garden we passed the grape vines; Don found a St. Peterswort or St. Andrews Cross (Hypericum crux-andreae); we stopped at the Xeric Meadow which did not have that many blooms. But we did see blanket flower (Gaillardia pulchella), partridge pea (Chaemecrista fasciculata), and gray-headed coneflower (Ratibida pinnata). In the aster garden only a few were blooming including the Purple coneflower (Echinaceae purpurea).
Whizzing by the beautiful native grasses we came to a crab apple tree, and around the corner in an uncultivated section were a dozen or more rose pinks (Sabatia angularis). Behind the stage were beautiful Hibiscus plants, especially prolific were the Hibiscus coccinius). On the boardwalk we noted the black willow (Salix nigra). We walked up the steps by the border plants, some of which were salvias and monardas passed bloom time.
On the way back to the Visitor Center we noted the fruit of the Cherokee Rose.
After which we went to Dondero's for snacks and conversation.