Posted by: jeannineatkins | May 23, 2010

Lady Slippers

My mother’s friend Marguerite loved all kinds of plants, and when I was a child sometimes led us on walks through the woods. She pointed out a few lady slippers and told us they were endangered and could not be picked. It wasn’t until fairly recently that botanists understood that they need certain kinds of fungi, which was why when people transplanted them, the flowers couldn’t survive in another place. One of the special spots where they thrive is High Ledges, a Mass Audubon Sanctuary http://www.massaudubon.org/Nature_Connection/Sanctuaries/High_Ledges/index.php. After Jenn Hubbard posted about some sightings last week, I emailed my friend Sue. She noted the Swamp Pinks (pictured below, and which smells like a mix of cinnamon and vanilla) near her house were blooming, which happens during Lady Slipper season.

My husband joined Sue and me for a picnic, and he took these pictures of us, the view into Shelburne Falls, and a rare yellow lady slipper. I hope all of your weekends hold delights.

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Responses

  1. Lady Slippers & Swamp Pinks
    Jeannine, thanks so much for sharing these pictures. We had a lot of Lady Slippers in the woods behind our house in CT when I was a kid. They have always been one of my favorite flowers and sadly I don’t see them very often any more.
    As for Swamp Pinks…I wonder if they are what my father used to call honeysuckle? He would gently pluck the flower and suck on the end of it to get the drop of “honey” nectar that was there. They were also abundant in our CT woods, especially out near the swamps and I believe they did bloom around the same time as the Lady Slippers.
    Jan Kozlowski
    http://www.jankozlowski.com

  2. Re: Lady Slippers & Swamp Pinks
    Jan, thanks for commenting! It is sad not to see lady slippers much, though the thrill to come upon one is huge!
    If you smell one of these, you do want to snack. But I expect the sweetness if mostly one of memory!

  3. Beautiful pictures — thanks for sharing 🙂

  4. What a gorgeous spot! My mother loved to look for the first signs of spring in Wisconsin: pussywillows and trillium. The lady slipper is beautiful, and I’d never heard of a swamp pink.

  5. There’s a place about an hour from my home where the yellow lady’s-slippers appear every year, and we make our annual pilgrimage. So the pink are a special treat for me, since I don’t know any place near me where they grow!

  6. Aw, thank you!

  7. I love pussywillows and trillium, too, which we’re lucky enough to have down the road from our house. I expect in Wisconsin, even more than Mass, you’re feeling pretty desperate and grateful for spring!

  8. Oh, that’s interesting about the yellow! The pink do come in quite a variety of shades, so are ever fascinating. Thanks for the nudge to get me out into the high altitude woods, Jenn!

  9. Lady’s-slippers
    Hi Jeannine ~ I love lady’s-slippers. I remember my first sighting with my dad when I was five. I wrote about it in a picture book that I’m still trying to get published. I have seen many of the pink variety, but never one of those rare yellow’s. Oooo — green with envy.

  10. Re: Lady’s-slippers
    Forgot to post my name.

  11. Re: Lady’s-slippers
    Carol, thanks for stopping by and reminiscing about lady slippers! I hadn’t seen a yellow one until I went to High Ledges. The pink have more variety in colors, but there is that ooh la la factor of rarity.

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