Sunday, May 23, 2010

Garden in the Woods

Yesterday I went to a place called "Garden in the Woods" which is in Framingham, MA. It is an educational/recreational site operated by the New England Wildflower Society. It's devoted to native plants but that really means all of the US. A lot of it is specific to New England and they have a spot where you can buy New England plants for your garden but some of the plants are from other parts of the country. It's pretty aptly named because there are a lot of woodsy areas and you'll walk along and bump into a well groomed garden area. So...a garden in the woods. When I went to the Arnold Arboretum I wrote about how it felt a lot like a museum in a lot of ways and less like being in a real natural space. Garden in the Woods has its museum-like qualities as well: there are signs on a lot of the plants with common and Latin names, a lot of the grounds are very well manicured, you have to stay on paths, etc. But like I said there are also a lot of really woodsy areas that make it feel a little more like your standard nature center. Here are some great organisms I found while walking in the woods:

This is a club moss, not a baby conifer. I made reference to them when I wrote about bryophytes. They are primitive, simple plants related to other mosses.
A pink lady slipper orchid. Some people claim these are amazingly beautiful. I think they're a little weird looking. I was much more impressed with this next orchid:

Orchids are often bizarre and they are the most specious group of flowering plants. They often have unique relationships with single insect species pollinators.

I don't know the species of spider or plant but I think this is the coolest shot I got yesterday. It has to be viewed in full screen to be fully appreciated so check it out in the photo gallery. I also made an edited version of this shot but I really can't tell which one I like more. I'll put up both versions in a future post.

This is the flower of the pitcher plant species that lives in the Eastern US. Pitchers are carnivorous plants that have modified leaves that form a "pitcher" which traps insects.

A small frog lying on a very weird flowering plant called the golden club. None of the shots I took directly of the plant came out very well but this little frog was apparently feeling pretty photogenic.

A flame azalea, a Rhododendron species. I did not have the wits or the camera to capture it but I saw a hummingbird pollinating this plant.

New England Wildflower Society has a strong conservation message. They especially promote the use and appreciation of native plants. On the other side of the coin they try to educate about the troubles associated with invasive plant species. Then they lock those species up in invasive plant jail. Twenty years to life for disabling local ecosystems.

And who can resist an ant. Not me.

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