Thursday, June 23, 2022

A perfect day crowned with laurels

Kalmia latifolia

I've been lucky enough to visit the Eastern United States many times over the decades, and have often caught the tail end or beginning of Mountain Laurel season. This year, last Saturday (just before solstice) thanks to my nephew Tachi Taylor who drove us to Lake Minnewaska near his home in Ellensville, New York, we hit laurel season spot on. It was a cool day--a perfect day. The sort of day that reminds one that we are indeed lucky mortals.

They were everywhere: I'll spare you the dozen or two other shots I took of them! Some pure white, others quite pink. And there was sheepkill [Kalmia angustifolia] too (which I never got a picture of) 

Here's our beloved nephew, Tachi: he lives in a lovely Manhattan apartment we've often stayed at.  Tachi purchased a wonderful weekend home in Ellensville with his partner Harry Rodriguez we finally got to visit. We regretted missing Harry (he was at a retreat last weekend): they have an enviable lifestyle of great style and joie-de-vivre. Few things delight me more than seeing people I love thriving.

The destination of our walk: two miles around (probably five or six miles altogether--and since I didn't bring hiking boots, I felt it! I was surprised there was lots of room in the parking lot on a prime, cool weekend in high season! People have GOT to get out of their houses!

The lichens, mosses and liverworts were as beautiful as the vascular plants! And so many kinds of trees!

It looks like primeval wilderness: we're looking towards New York City, just an hour or two away!

Not far from the lake we had to visit Awosting Falls...

A thrill to see Penstemon digitalis in the wild. OK, I know it's not rare--but not something that grows wild in the West!

Phegopteris connectilis

 GALLING to find narrow beech fern: I grew this for decades and eventually lost it and have been anxious to get it again. We found several patches...I was tempted, but honesty (and fear of prosecution perhaps) prevailed and no piece came with me!

What better way to end a perfect day? Why, visit a wonderful garden center. Although featuring natives, this place had far more: how many garden centers stock Glaucidium palmatum and Jeffersonia dubia? They even claim they had my narrow beech fern but were sold out. If this place were near my house, I'd be a pauper--lots of fabulous plants at great prices. We had to get some for Ellensville of course, and Tachi was kept busy planting for some time later that day! Didn't stop him from cooking a fabulous dinner of barbecue ribs for us! Like I said, it was a perfect day!

Brought to mind the quatrain from my favorite poem of the English language (Marvell's "the Garden")

                                Apollo hunted Daphne so,
                                Only that she might laurel grow;
                                And Pan did after Syrinx speed,
                                Not as a nymph, but for a reed.


  1. The Shawangunk Mountains are beautiful. The one thing I wish I had seen when I lived in New York was Isotria verticillata. I must have walked past them without ever noticing. I later read there is a large population in the Catskills.

  2. Lovely. Just writing about P. digitalis at the moment, so I was happy to see it in your blog. And I LOVE that layered rock.


Featured Post

A garden near lake Tekapo

The crevice garden of Michael Midgley Just a few years old, this crevice garden was designed and built by Michael Midgley, a delightful ...

Blog Archive