Wilson’s Wildflower Workshop – The Recap

Wow, what a weekend!  We had a full class with many old friends and familiar faces along with some new ones we were happy to get to know and look forward to working with in the future.  Our wildflower workshop was about a week earlier than it normally is due to Easter being later this year.  We figured this would mean that we would get to explore some of the blooms that have usually come and gone by the time we normally have our class.  Well, that didn’t exactly work out as planned because almost everything bloomed extremely early this year due to our weather patterns.  So, our plans to scope out the trout lillies near Elkmont and dutchman’s breeches at the Chimneys had to be ditched.  However, we found all kinds of jewels and had a great time, so all worked out well.

We started out on Friday night by getting to know everyone and making our plans for Saturday.  Saturday morning started with breakfast at Riverstone Family Restaurant and then we were off to our first stop at one of our favorite cascades on Little River Road.  Due to the abundant rains we had in the previous days, the water was roaring and there were abundant wildflowers growing on the rock walls hugging the road.  This was kind of our warm up spot, then on to one of our favorite pull offs on the way to Cades Cove where we found several varieties of blooms.  Take a peek..

Mike gets up close and personal with some confederate violets using a macro lens

Ron, Craig, and Brett work patiently to capture the wild bleeding hearts in between the bursts of wind

Stonecrop found growing on the rock wall of a bridge

Rob goes off the beaten path and found a wildflower we had to do a little research to name.

It turned out to be Mountain Phlox.

Next, on to Cades Cove to capture some Dogwoods whose blooms were extraordinarily large and beautiful this year.  They are gorgeous on their own, but framing the historic cabins in the Cove they are breathtaking.

The first cabin on the Cades Cove loop

Craig scales the muddy bank to get the shot of a beautiful Vasey Trillium

After lunch, we hit one of our favorite spots near the Sugarlands Visitors Center.  We found all kinds of treasures here!  The hard to find Vasey Trillium were in peak bloom.  There were some right next to the trail, but the most beautiful flower required scaling a mud bank to get to .  That didn’t seem to phase our class:)

The Vasey Trillium

Bonus! Someone found a salamander while we were looking for the Vasey trillium. He was kind enough to pose on a log for everyone.

Charles composing his salamander shot.

Not rare or hard to find, but my favorite wildflower, the dwarf crested iris

We met someone on the trail who told us the whereabouts of this lovely Morrel.

Gail and Don focus on the irises

Leaving the Sugarlands area and on our way to the top of the mountain to check on an earlier find, we got a tip on where we could find a rare flower.  Unfortunately, I can’t tell you where we found this because there are so many people who dig up these plants.  So, it’s a secret.  However, we were excited to find the yellow ladyslippers for our class!  Actually, it was a member of our class who actually spotted them!  Harold is our super scouter:)

Steve zooms in on the yellow ladyslipper.

Yep, that's Wilson taking pictures with his Iphone:) Don't worry, he shot some with the D3x as well:)

Don is reflecting and Eric is diffusing so Joy can get her shot of the pink ladyslippers that have just started to bloom.

And finally, we headed to the top of the mountain where we found a patch of Dutchman’s breeches.  Gail had never seen these particular flowers, so we were on a mission to find them just for her and we were so excited when we found them up high!

Dutchman's breeches

Rex, Ron, and Roy work on capturing the tiny blooms of the Dutchman's breeches while fighting the wind.

We packed as much as we possibly could into the weekend and were grateful for the cooperative weather.  Thanks to everyone who came for the workshop.  We had so much fun spending the weekend with you in the woods.  We are looking forward to our fall workshop!  Check out our facebook page for more  pictures:)

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2 Responses to “Wilson’s Wildflower Workshop – The Recap”

  1. JeriAnne Berry Says:

    Brought back many good memories reading this! Wish I could have joined you this year. I am especially fond of Dutchman’s Britches! They are a fanciful flower I enjoyed as a child! Thanks for sharing!!!

  2. Gail Patton Says:

    Enjoyed the write up and looking at the pictures. Such a good time seeing everyone and making so many wonderful memories. You both are wonderful hosts.

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