There’s no denying that we are all ready for spring! Starting this month, we will be highlighting blossoms throughout the Garden with special Saturday activities as part of our Spring Blooms at the Garden series. For some of us, our favorite early spring blooms are not the showy tulips and other swaths of color found throughout the Garden but rather the small delicate native wildflowers pushing their way up through the leaves in The Woodland.
This area was established as a sanctuary for native plants in 1961 by volunteers from the Memphis Area Wildflower Society. At one time you could find multiple patches of trillium, jack-in-the-pulpit, native orchids, and other ephemeral wildflowers. Although the society no longer exists, volunteers continue to play a crucial role in the conservation of native plants, which serve forest ecosystems by enriching biodiversity. Last year, through a project funded in partnership with The Little Garden Club of Memphis and Partners for Plants, we began a three-year effort of cataloging and restoring The Woodland.
Volunteers, spearheaded by the efforts of Linnea West and Jan Castillo, have now identified 71 different types of trees, 28 woody shrubs, 20 vines and groundcovers and 7 fern species growing in The Woodland. In addition to that, we have a growing list of >over 30 different flowering plants compiled by local native plant expert Anne Ballentine, who spent time last spring walking through observing and taking notes. We also have an updated accurate map thanks to contributions from the University of Memphis’s FedEx Institute of Technology and volunteer Laura Murray. Click here to see the wildflowers found blooming in 2020.
Now in the second year of the project, we will once again be hosting a series of volunteer efforts to help clear The Woodland of non-native and invasive plants. Weed Wrangles will be held on the first Fridays of March, April, and May from 9 am-noon. Click here to learn more or to sign up to participate.
As we continue to foster the area, we invite you to explore this deciduous forest environment, enjoy the babbling brook, and discover ephemeral wildflowers this spring.
photos by Taylor Herndon