Technically, it’s called the Education Garden. But Ann has taken it on as her favorite project. She and a small crew of volunteers have been preparing and planting and weeding to make the garden at the entry to the Audubon Center Building a showcase of native plants. I love coming out to look at the plants in this garden, some of which I have never seen in the wild.
Ann photographs her progress, as well as the individual plants and plans to make a booklet about the garden this winter.
Last Tuesday, as I waited for the day campers to arrive, I took my camera out to the garden, too. (Ann and I have the same camera, but she has better lenses AND a tripod! We’re trying to set her up with her own Flickr account, but so far she has only posted one picture. Dial-up is a slow and painful thing when you are addicted to images!)
According to Peterson’s guide, Butterfly-Weed is supposed to found from Minnesota to southern Ontario and southern Maine and south. I’ve never seen it in the wild, but it is blooming quite nicely in this garden. It’s in the milkweed family, but there are discrepancies: Peterson’s says it is “not milky when broken” – but an on-line source I was reading said that it is. I hate to break a leaf to find out for myself (but I probably will). There were milkweed bugs on the plant, but none of my pictures came out all that well…
Cardinal Flower is supposed to grow in damp places. Indeed, I often find it right along the water’s edge at the Sanctuary and other places I hike. For some unknown reason, it is doing very well in this dry and sunny spot!
(Aside: I need to get out in a boat on the outlet of Chautauqua Lake. There is a spot where the Cardinal Flower and the Purple Loosestrife are sharing the shore. It is the most glorious combination of red and purple you can imagine!)
Speaking of purple, sometimes I refer to Spiderwort as my coffee-drinking flower. The blooms tend to come out in the early morning when I’m sipping my coffee, then fade as the day gets hotter. (I have some in my garden, too.) There are always plenty of buds ready to produce more blooms by the next day.
I think this is a phlox, isn’t it? There are so many species, and many have been cultivated. I don’t know what variety this one is, if it can be found in the wild, or if it is cultivated. It sure looked pretty covered with dew in the morning sun!
If you scroll back up to the top and look at the picture of Ann, you will see to the right of the boulder a mass of orange blooms. Those are Turk’s Cap Lilies. They like wet meadows. This is another I have yet to find in the wild. (What’s with the orange ones? They’re hiding from me!)
OK, I’ll end with a pink one I have never seen – Wild Bleeding Heart. Hmm… they like rocky woods. I wonder if I could find some on the trails at Allegany State Park?
Ann has plenty more flowers in the garden, some of which are very common out there on the trails, others that are quite unusual. The garden changes from month to month, and is always beautiful. It’s been home to baby bunnies, chipmunks, turtle eggs, and even duck eggs. It’s a gorgeous collection and we are very grateful for the hard work of Ann and her crew.