News From The Field
This time of year when the landscape is waking up from its winter slumber and bursting forth with a vast array of blooms and warmer temperatures, we all want to soak up as much of it as we can, especially the ephemeral wildflowers whose splendor is all too brief! Piedmont Land Conservancy wants you to have the opportunity to fill your senses with the abundant collection of some very special wildflowers found at the Emily H. Allen Wildflower Preserve in Winston-Salem. On Saturday, April 8th, PLC is hosting Open Garden Day at the Preserve from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., inviting the public to come and enjoy the beauty of native wildflowers.
The Preserve is located near Historic Bethabara. Because this area of Forsyth County is rather special, picked by the early Moravian settlers for its fertile soils, the garden is home to many species of wildflowers you might be more likely to find in our mountains. The Preserve is home to over 500 species of plants and trees, including 28 of the 35 known species of eastern North American trilliums, all within a six-acre urban woodland garden. Many of the plants in the Preserve occur naturally on the site, while others have been gifts from other native plant enthusiasts or transplanted rescues from doomed construction sites.
This is a special garden indeed. It all began about 55 years ago when Emily Allen made an accidental discovery of a Showy orchis (Galearis spectabilis, formerly known as Orchis spectabilis) along the tributary to Monarcas Creek that runs through the middle of the property. That began her lifelong passion for native plants and fueled her quest for learning in which she grew to become a renowned wildflower expert in the native plant enthusiast community across the state and beyond. The garden has been frequented not only by botanists, horticulturists and students, but also by photographers, artists and other individuals and organizations who want to see such a wide collection of specimens without having to travel long distances.
In 2000, the Allen family donated a conservation easement on the site to ensure that it would always remain a native plant sanctuary and serve as an educational garden for others to learn how native plants can be used in the landscape, as well as serve as a repository of native plants and seeds for other botanical gardens so that plants would not need to be collected from wild populations. Then in 2015, just before Emily’s death, the family donated the garden and residence to PLC. A Preserve stewardship endowment established by the family and many generous supporters helps to cover the costs associated with the garden.
The Preserve is maintained by a dedicated group of volunteers who not only give their time and physical labor, but also educate the public about the important role of native plants in our environment. If you join us on April 9th, you will not only have the chance to see one of the best spring wildflower shows in the Piedmont, but you will also meet some of these wonderful people who so generously make it possible.
Please come enjoy the beautiful wildflowers of the Emily H. Allen Wildflower Preserve on Saturday, April 8th. Reserve your 30-minute time slot through this link – http://www.piedmontland.org/open-garden-day-2017/. You may also call the PLC office (336.691.0088) or email Mindy Mock (firstname.lastname@example.org). There is no charge for visiting the garden; however, donations to the Preserve stewardship endowment will be much appreciated. Hope to see you in the garden!
This post submitted by Mindy Mock, Friends Volunteer Coordinator at the Emily H. Allen Wildflower Preserve and PLC Land Protection and Outreach Specialist.