Spring in Passing


The solution to finding the spring we missed while out West: go HIGH young man, go HIGH. (Well, forget the young part.)

The Blue Ridge Parkway is lush with spring wildflowers along its 3000 foot plus ridges, and it took great will power (I caved a couple of times) to keep my appointment at Mabry Mill and Chateau Morrisette yesterday afternoon. Oooh! Black Cohosh, Fire Pink, Pink Geranium. Interrupted Fern–so much more a blur as I sped along to my appointed tasks.

I did pull off a couple of times and wandered down into the woods. I caught myself just before I got down on my knees in my dress pants to get a better view of this patch of Lily of the Valley. I intend to go back right away. The Flame Azalea is almost in full bloom.

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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. My favorite flower, because of the scent, and the fact that I remeber it from my childhood back yard in Milwaukee, WI that I left when I was 5 years old.

  2. Apparently, this species is introduced (from Europe with early settlers) and is actually considered invasive, though it won’t grow just anywhere, but does well in some rich Appalachian valleys. Note also that it is poisonous in high does (but was used medicinally as a treatment for mustard gas in WW1.)

  3. i miss my lilly of the vallies in my old flower bed…i loved how they perfumed the air while in bloom. but they did spread quite fast……

    i didn’t realize they grew in the wild, either

  4. Got the lilly of the valley around my yard – it grows like weeds and it has deep roots making it annoying to pull out if desired. also, flowers are dwarfed by the size of its green leaves. I’m thinking I don’t like it, but it will be hard to get rid of.