Monday, May 2, 2011

Lady's Slipper, my univited but very welcome guest...

     I first saw a Lady's Slipper orchid about a mile down the road from my current house.  My parents' house is very near my own, and when I was about 10, a group of neighborhood girls and I were hiking through the woods (ok, we were a little bit lost) and we came across a Lady's Slipper flower.

     "Whoaaaa....  Look, It's a Lady's Slipper!"  We all stopped and checked out the delicate flower and its single pink bloom on the hillside in the dappled shade of those woods.  "It's so pretty." There was a moment of silence.

     "Ok, let's go - which way to the road?" and that was it. I tried to find the Lady's Slipper again in subsequent years, but to no avail.  I'd seen pictures of them after that, but never again in real life until my husband and I bought our house.  

     "Whoaaaa, a Lady's Slipper!"  I said to myself, "and in my own backyard!"  It was growing just about 10 feet from the compost pile.  I was already discovering how much the deer liked the salad bar that was my property, so I put a small fence around the Lady's Slipper - just in case.  I didn't want to take any chances. 

     It seems to bloom every other year, although I haven't read anywhere that that's what these plants do.  Even so, if I'm remembering correctly, this would be a blooming year.  In case you're wondering, it's located on a gentle slope under a few oak trees mixed with pines (white pines, and scrub pines).  The soil is sandy, but also kind of spongey from years and years of accumulated leaf mulch. 

     I thought you all might enjoy watching my little friend bloom again.  I was hoping that eventually I'd get MORE Lady's Slippers, but so far, she likes her solitary state.  If you want to find out more about them, or if you live in the Northeast and you want to try finding one of these treasures, check out the bare facts on Wikipedia:


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