Discoveries are common place on Fawn Hill. I had always assumed the tall trees along the driveway were poplars but this year I have the good fortune to be here as they bloom and, as you can see, the blooms are lovely. I thought they must be tulip poplars which they are but now I have learned they are not poplars at all.
Liriodendron tulipifera, the tulip tree, is actually a member of the magnolia family and these two are prime specimens. Our friends at Wikipedia have once again provided a wealth of information. I was relieved to learn they are not poplars which seem to have a nasty habit of becoming very tall and then rotting out from the inside.
But these are tulip trees and are prized lumber. They were used by the Indians for dugout canoes and its lumber has been called Canoewood. According to Wikipedia it is one “of the largest and most valuable hardwoods of eastern North America.” It can grow to a height of 190 feet! Ours would seem to be about 60 feet. The average size is around 70 feet. The birds enjoy their seeds and humans can fall in love with their blossoms. ❧
Trillium are part of the lily order but have their own family. And that is no surprise because, as it happens, there are many different varieties that grow across the globe. I was unfamiliar with it until we acquired the Fawn Hill property. On our little strand of land we have dozens of pink trillium which, officially speaking, are Trillium catesbaei, or Catesby trillium. There are quite a few more this year than I remember from the past two seasons that we have enjoyed this place. Whether that is due to our clearing of overgrowth or perfect growing conditions I don’t know.
As a member of the lily order they grow from rhizomes. This is great news since propagation will take care of itself. In the picture below you can count at least seven in a relatively small patch of land. Most of ours are pink although there are some white and one or two purple varities.
They are cheery beings and welcome on Fawn Hill. ✦
When I was a child growing up in Massachusetts, there seemed no shortage of Lady Slippers; that delicate wild orchid that is at once beautifully dainty and profoundly evocative. They are of the subfamily Cypripedioideae and grace most of the continents. According to Wikipedia:
The subfamily Cypripedioideae is monophyletic and consists of five genera. The Cypripedium genus is found across much of North America, as well as in parts of Europe and Asia. The state flower of Minnesota is the showy lady’s slipper (Cypripedium reginae). The pink lady’s slipper is also the official provincial flower of the Canadian province of Prince Edward Island.
My sister and I recall them differently. She recalls them being in the woods behind her friend’s house and I recall them being in the woods behind our house, the distinction being that we moved to a big house that had acres of woods behind it just before my sister went off to boarding school. I remember ripping them from the ground and bringing them home to my mother. She rarely scolded us but she did suggest, in that way she had, that I simply leave them be. After we moved to Florida, when I was 12-years old I rarely saw a Lady Slipper again. I had heard (incorrectly) that they were endangered. So, you can imagine my delight when I discovered two(!) Lady Slippers on the hillside at Fawn Hill in North Carolina.
Lady Slipper (Cypripedium acaule) on the hillside at Fawn Hill.
This will be our third summer at Fawn Hill and every year brings more surprises. In a few days we are having some trees removed, weed trees mainly, opportunists that have grabbed at a chance to thrive, ironically in the absence of care. As we clear away more and more of this over-growth we uncover a plan. The woman who first owned this land and lived here for more than a decade was a gardener and she installed some beautiful plantings. Daffodils and tulips have popped up, peonies seem abundant, and azalea bushes are emerging from what tried, very hard, to become forest. What will surprise us when the weed trees are gone and more light reaches the bank of land behind the house? Stay tuned. ✦
A Lady Slipper prepares to bloom.
Frequent readers are familiar with my cousin Bunny. She recently turned 95 years old and things are not what we would hope for her. Physically strong she has a form of dementia that blocks her memory of the present time. She will repeatedly ask the same question or make the same observation, like an old phonograph player that gets stuck on the same part of a record. But the Bunny we love is still there, it just takes some creativity to jostle the brain into “forward.”
One modern invention that helps with that process is the iPad. Frequently I will take it with me when I visit and we look at old family photos. This series of pictures shows Bunny and her daughter-in-law, Joanne, “visiting” with Bunny’s great-grandchildren, Winston and Ellery. Bunny seemed to grasp the concept of video-visits with no problem, only the appropriate wonder such technology deserves.
So, on this Easter Sunday, I give you Bunny. Still alive, still loved, and still loving. ❧
Bunny, in Sarasota, Florida, “connects” with Winston, her year-old great-grandson in Kentucky.
Here Bunny points at her own image in the upper-left corner of the iPad.
A wave from Grammy.
Bunny, her son Milo, and Ellery, her great-granddaughter, have a visit.
It has been a crazy time for weather. Friends in the Northeast continue to be hammered by snow and ice. In Australia they had not just one but TWO(!) major hurricanes (or cyclones) hitting the country at the same time. One, Cyclone Marcia, was a Category 5!
Here in Central Florida we had freezing temperatures for one night but today, just two days later, it was in the low 80s and this picture, snapped at Myakka Park this afternoon, looks very much like summer time.
Ah, weather! ❧
This mother cow and two calves were willing posers this morning as Tango and I took our morning walk around Wilderness Lane. It was a bright, clear morning and the sun was warming as we took time to consider each other. When I was growing up in Sarasota there were many, many cows but now it has become a city and there are fewer of these bucolic scenes. More’s the pity. ❧
This lovely tree trunk caught my eye in Myakka River State Park. So many different lichen, colliding is a wonderful expression of color. ❧