THE SANGUINE ROOT VISITS THE WOLF CREEK TROUT LILY PRESERVE IN GRADY COUNTY GEORGIA DURING PEAK BLOOM. MILLIONS OF BLOOMING DIMPLED TROUT LILIES CARPET 15 ACRES OF A NORTH FACING HARDWOOD HILLSIDE IN THE AFTERNOON SUN, MONDAY FEBRUARY 24TH, 2014.
We had been wanting to visit this place for a long time, and the opportunity arose as it just happened to coincide with our winter vacation to neighboring Thomasville, Georgia. Seeing this preserve at peak bloom was also a very lucky moment in our travels. The stars were indeed aligned just right for us on this balmy, sunny afternoon in this southern Georgia hardwood forest.
Erythronium umbilicatum, the Dimpled Trout Lily
Trillium maculatum, the spotted Trillium
For us northerners, seeing this vast hillside of green flowering things at the end of February was a sight to behold! blooming amidst Saw Palmetto and the Trout lilies, the Trilliums were truly pleasing to the eye and welcoming to the camera’s lens. The Wolf Creek Trout Lily Preserve encourages photography.
This is a place of spectacular beauty, a place that entirely transcends the monotonous landscapes of the developments and highways, the attempts at landscaping and the increasing lack of a sense of place that is dominating the developed vistas of America at this time. A place like this gives us a sense of where we are and when; it is a place where we retain a perspective on the location and the season, on the speciation found in the natural world around us. When we find ourselves marveling in the beauty of other species and in the places we find, discover and seek them out, we are further enlightened and enabled into the landscape.
This is one of those places, so unique in its location, and so rare and abundant, a place similar to this is usually found hundreds of miles north in the Appalachian Mountains. Why this is located here in Southern Georgia is possibly related to the Ice Ages. An astounding place such as this makes us think of botanical history in relation to geological history; an exercise that helps us stretch our minds into the milleniums past; here is a place where we see beauty and excite fascination in the times that have existed long before us.
Just some of the other species at Wolf Creek: Southern Twayblade Orchid (Listera australis), Greenfly Orchid (Epidendrum magnoliae), Coral Root Orchid (Corallorhiza wisteriana) , Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis), and of course many, many others such as Oaks, maples, beeches and blueberries, Saw Palmetto, just for starters to get you interested!
The story behind how the Wolf Creek Trout Lily Preserve was created is inspirational. It was to be developed into housing. It had been known for a long time as a property with a noteworthy wildflower population, and it took the efforts of very dedicated people to save it from destruction.
From reading the history, it could be argued that this land was saved because of the housing market collapse in 2007-2008.
Now it is owned by Grady County and is preserved in perpetuity as a preserve. This did not come easy, however, and the story of its preservation is a inspiring reminder of what it takes to retain the beauty in the world around us.
Here is a trillium with four leaves, folks. They are named for their three leaves, petals, sepals. Oddities, always in nature, making the world go round.
These Trout Lilies exhibit the recurved petals so distinguishing of this flower. note the Trillium maculatum in the backround.
This photo was taken in the best spot (noted in the brochure), where the vantage point of Trout Lily coverage is maximized. You can see the pitch of the slope in the horizon, which is helpful in getting a feel for the landscape.
The caretakers of this preserve have gone to great extents to make our visit truly pleasurable, from creating a great website, promoting it in the local papers, facilitating parking arrangements, creating signage, brochures, and maps. There was a box full of brochures in the parking area that approached the topics of native plants, invasive plants and ecology. As we walked into the preserve there were signs that reminded us to stay on the trails. we found ourselves taking extra precautions on the trails to not step on any Trout Lilies or Trilliums. (It takes years for a single Trout Lily plant to make it to bloom, so to step on one and crush it in the act of trying to appreciate it is antithetical to the exercise)
Here we are, Sean Solomon and Isabelle Dijols, finally at the long awaited and oft talked about Wolf Creek Trout Lily Preserve. (Photo by Cathy Smith)