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


Spring Wildflowers

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.


Tickets – Sold out!

Members: $75 for both days

Non-members: $100 for both days

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)

Wildflower Walks

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 *This field trip is full*

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.

Panthertown Valley

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.