By Cindy McIntosh

Saturday, March 18th wildflower lovers of all ages joined horticulturalist and garden writer Paula Gross on a beautiful winter’s hike at Fisher Farm Park. Although the weather started out chilly, the sunshine and hiking warmed our group as we trekked through the woodlands searching for spring ephemerals and native wildflowers.  

Spring ephemerals are the first plants to emerge and flower in the very early spring, taking advantage of the sunlight that is abundant in our deciduous forests before they begin to leaf out. These flowers are important to the very early pollinators in our woodlands. Our efforts were rewarded as we found wild ginger and violets, green and gold plants, bloodroot and rue anemone. Paula even spotted the leaves of a native orchid, yet to bloom, but something to bring us back to the woods for a later visit. 

The Davidson Lands Conservancy organized this hike to connect families to nature and train our eyes to spot even the tiniest and most fleeting examples of its beauty. Not surprisingly, the youngest of our hikers at age 6 was often the first to see these winter gems. 

Our many thanks to Paula Gross, former Associate Director of the UNCC Botanical Gardens and a current teacher at the Green School for taking the time to share these treasures with us.