May 8 & 9, 2015
Wildflower Whimsy Slideshow
A little madness in the Spring
Is wholesome even for the King,
But God be with the Clown –
Who ponders this tremendous scene –
This whole Experiment of Green –
As if it were his own!
– Emily Dickinson
Each spring, before the forests fill with lush leaves – and while the taste of a harsh winter lingers – a remarkable event offers a reprieve: spring wildflowers buried in the leaf litter of the forest floor erupt with a riot of color and fragrance, nourishing our senses and feeding our native pollinators. These flowers must bloom, fruit, and go to seed before the tree leaves fill the canopy and block sunlight. Many will disappear in a matter of weeks – or days – until the next spring.
The science behind the sequence for these ephemeral flowers is also delicate, fleeting, and beautiful. Complex interactions between environmental and biological factors are responsible for this burst of life, but balance is essential. Whether you daydream of patches of trout lilies and beds of bloodroot to stave off the winter blues, or you’re unfamiliar but curious about this diminutive world, Wildflower Whimsy promises to deliver.
Highlands Biological Foundation
All proceeds from Whimsy support the three pillars of the Highlands Biological Station: The Nature Center, Botanical Garden and Laboratory. Your participation allows for the care and expansion of the Botanical Garden’s plant collection, improvements to the exhibits and programs of the Nature Center, and support for research and education conducted through the Laboratory. Highlands Biological Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.
Members: $75 for both days
Non-members: $100 for both days
Click here to purchase your tickets online with a credit card (you will be redirected to a secure website)
Ticket includes heavy hors d’oeuvres, wine & beer, garden tours, auction #, and seat during the lecture on Friday night; and a boxed lunch and guided wildflower walk on Saturday. Wildflower Whimsy is an outdoor event and will take place behind the Nature Center (930 Horse Cove Rd). The lecture will be held inside the Nature Center.
2015 Event Schedule
Friday, May 8
5:30pm – 6:30pm
Celebrating Diversity to Support Pollinators: Focus on Bees
Nancy Adamson, Xerces Society & NRCS Ecologist
Our diverse landscapes and abundant harvests depend on visits to flowers by pollinators. Nancy will highlight intimate connections between the beautiful blooms we treasure throughout the growing season and the nectar, pollen, and nesting habitat they provide. She is the East Region Pollinator Conservation Specialist with the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation and the Natural Resources Conservation Service in Greensboro, NC. Nancy teaches about pollinators and habitat restoration. Long involved with seed collecting, and propagating native plants, she ran the horticulture and Master Gardener programs for Frederick County, Maryland Extension and the education program at Adkins Arboretum in Maryland. Nancy is part of the design team developing the pollinator garden at HBS.
6:30pm – 8:30pm
Plant Auctions & Reception
Live music by Adam Bigelow & Ian Moore
Directly contribute to the Highlands Biological Foundation by bidding on carefully curated plants during our live and silent auctions. Enjoy the spring evening with a wine reception, heavy hors d’oeuvres, live music, and an ephemeral light display in the Botanical Garden. Before the auctions, tour the Garden with station staff and other Garden enthusiasts.
Saturday, May 9
10:00am – 2:00pm (approximately)
We’ve selected five of our favorite places to discover wildflowers in the southern Appalachians:
(approximate times: 10am-2pm) Bring water, sun & rain protection, notepad, camera, backpack to carry lunch
Diversity of the Chattooga River
Led by, Nancy Adamson, Ecologist, Xerces Society and NRCS; and Jennie Stowers, Education Chair, HBF. Wild and Scenic is a fitting designation for the Chattooga River and its lush banks. Experience a rich diversity of native plants along one of the most diverse river gorges in North America. We will walk along the Chattooga Loop Trail and identify native plants in the context of ecological conditions. Moderate.
Wildflowers of High Falls Trail
Led by Walter Wingfield, President, Highlands-Cashiers Land Trust; and Dr. Dan Pittillo, Professor, WCU (ret.) The High Falls trail boasts a profusion of wildflower variation. This walk along the banks of Shoal Creek in Glenville also offers views of two spectacular waterfalls, Rough Run and High Falls. Known for early, mid and late spring bloomers. Easy/moderate.
Led by Wes Burlingame, Horticulturist, Owner, Spring Valley Nursery (ret.). One of the most beautiful and biologically unique sites in the southern Appalachians, the spectacular scenery of Panthertown Valley has earned it the title “the Yosemite of the East.” Moderate-difficult.
The Dimmitt Gardens on Brushy Face
Led by Alan Weakley, Adjunct Assistant Professor; Director, Herbarium, UNC-Chapel Hill. A garden both beautiful and environmentally sound. This garden incorporates whimsical creativity, lush plant diversity and rain water recycling techniques and green technologies. The spot offers long range views to Blue Valley and beyond. Easy.
Jones Gap to White Rock Mountain
Led by Adam Bigelow, Garden Manager, Cullowhee Community Garden; and John Stowers, Bartram Trail Society.
This portion of the Bartram Trail offers a wide variety of high elevation spring wildflowers. This trail winds its way through rhododendron tunnels and rock outcrops before arriving at Whiterock Mountain to display great views down into the Tessentee valley and across to the Nantahala Mountains. Moderate-difficult.