Last of the Spring Wildflowers

 Pink Lady’s Slipper

I was disappointed that the weather didn’t cooperate with my photographic hopes for yesterday. Fog, wind and dripping drizzle kept the big camera under wraps, and I pulled the Canon out of my coat pocket just long enough to grab a few shots, but didn’t get many keepers. The light levels were so low, the autofocus generally didn’t.

Here’s an unusual view of a pink lady’s slipper under a pine canopy, snapped while one of my hiking buddies held an umbrella over photographer and tiny camera, waiting for a lull in the winds.

A cold front passed through while we walked a magnificent private preserve on the Blue Ridge Parkway; the temperature dropped almost ten degrees. I hadn’t dressed for upper-forties and the warmth of the car felt good on the return trip home.

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. Yeah – it was cold yesterday AND this morning too. I know the light could have been better, but I really like the gray canopy behind the colorful lady’s slipper. Nice picture!

  2. I use to have a couple places on my property where lady slippers grew, but I haven’t seen one in years.

    I’m loving the cooler weather. This is probably the last breath of cool air we will have for months. It’s so nice today, sunny and 70 degrees. Perfect!

  3. I once tinctured some Lady Slipper after a friend disclosed a spot where they were growing. It’s a nervine/tranquilizer. I also tried to transplant one on my property. It came back the next year but not after that.

    Such an odd/exotic plant.

  4. Fred, is this wild orchid the one we call the “Moccasin Flower” up here? Your orchid seems to be all pink rather than pink and white like the Showy Orchis which will bloom here next month. I don’t know about the habitat your orchid perfers, but ours prefer the bottom of an old beaver pond, several feet down a steep and steamy incline and the bugs down there are abundant and voracious. We are having a bumper year for black flies and mosquitoes – the worst in a very long time.