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Mother Nature's Garden

Latest Mother Nature's Garden

Discovering the harbinger-of-spring

While there are plenty of interesting plants in our area, sometimes I like to go hiking in an entirely different area, one known for having ... Read more

2 weeks ago by Dr. Cynthia Wood.

In search of the southern grape fern

I’ve always been fascinated by ferns. They’re old. So old that ancestors of modern ferns were here long before the dinosaurs. Ferns just seem to ... Read more

2 months ago by Dr. Cynthia Wood.

Nature provides its own valentines

According to the calendar, it’s the shortest month, but, in reality, it never seems to end. February is fickle. It can be cold, wet and ... Read more

2 months ago by Dr. Cynthia Wood.

COLUMN — A walk in the woods

This time of the year, when the forest is a study in brown, beige and gray with a few green accents, I like to walk ... Read more

3 months ago by Dr. Cynthia Wood.

It’s never too late for a walk in the woods

It’s the first week in December, and the weather is still pleasantly warm. Even so, I’m surprised at the number of plants that are blooming, ... Read more

4 months ago by Dr. Cynthia Wood.

Bald cypresses are an atypical conifer

The bald cypress (Taxodium distichum) was first described in 1640, and ever since then writers have been impressed by its ability to create a dramatic ... Read more

5 months ago by Staff Report.

A cool find on a hot day

Last summer I spent far too many hot, humid days mucking about in several swampy areas at Holliday Lake State Park. I wandered around one ... Read more

8 months ago by Dr. Cynthia Wood.

Goldenrod provides late summer color

Several years ago, I went with a friend to a business luncheon where there was a beautiful floral arrangement with bright yellow flowers in it. ... Read more

9 months ago by Dr. Cynthia Wood.

Uschi goes on a trail walk at High Bridge

Hello, fellow wildflower lovers. It’s me Uschi. Several months ago, I went with my mom on a trail walk, met a woman named Uschi, and ... Read more

10 months ago by Dr. Cynthia Wood.

Stalking the hoary yellow puccoon

Sometimes a plant just shows up in an unexpected location. Sometimes you walk by that location over and over, but not at exactly the right ... Read more

12 months ago by Dr. Cynthia Wood.

Incised fumewort is problematic

I went to Powhatan State Park last week, walked the usual trails and searched for Dutchman’s breeches, which I didn’t find. When I got home, ... Read more

1 year ago by Dr. Cynthia Wood.

Speedwell, a beautiful weed

Hiking in late winter or very early spring requires an open mind about the plants that can be found. Sure, there are always Christmas ferns, ... Read more

1 year ago by Dr. Cynthia Wood.

Hiking can be a voyage of discovery

Spending time outside, whether gardening or hiking, is just plain good for you. Hiking and walking have been called moving meditations because they enable people ... Read more

1 year ago by Dr. Cynthia Wood.

New apps for field work

Not too many years ago, hiking meant carrying a heavy backpack filled with my favorite field guides – some for plants, some for mushrooms and ... Read more

1 year ago by Dr. Cynthia Wood.

The aftermath of finding a rare plant

A good part of last year was spent hiking with a list of plants that needed to be documented in various counties. For example, common ... Read more

1 year ago by Dr. Cynthia Wood.

Torrey’s mountain mint: A rare find

It’s been so hot and dry that I decided Oct. 4 would be my last major hike before the skunk cabbages emerge in late December. ... Read more

2 years ago by Dr. Cynthia Wood.

A tale of persistence and what grows in the swamp

While mucking about in a swampy area at Holliday Lake State Park last month, I stumbled upon an odd looking little plant that I had ... Read more

2 years ago by Dr. Cynthia Wood.

Long-lobed arrowhead: An uncommon plant

In the early days of the commonwealth, the naming of rivers was arbitrary. Settlers along a particular waterway named it whatever they pleased. For example, ... Read more

2 years ago by Dr. Cynthia Wood.

The difference in buttonweed

It’s been so hot that my hikes have been reduced to half-hearted slogs up and down the back roads near my farm. No enthusiasm and ... Read more

2 years ago by Dr. Cynthia Wood.

Wood Betony: an interesting hemiparasite

There are some native plants that I just can’t keep straight in my head unless I see the leaves and the flowers together. Wood betony, ... Read more

2 years ago by Dr. Cynthia Wood.

Slipper Orchids: Love and obsession

Wildflower people are both incredibly generous and seriously obsessive. This spring I’ve been the recipient of untold generosity. It’s common knowledge that everyone loves lady’s ... Read more

2 years ago by Dr. Cynthia Wood.

The thrill of the find

In my ongoing rambles in the woods, I visit new places every year, but I also return to the same areas over and over every ... Read more

2 years ago by Dr. Cynthia Wood.

Lyre-leaf sage: An assertive native

Walk across any unkempt lawn (mine!), waste area or woodland clearing this month and you’ll find basal rosettes of dark green and purple leaves that ... Read more

2 years ago by Dr. Cynthia Wood.

Coltsfoot: an early sign of spring

By late February, most of us are so desperate for early signs of spring that we’re overjoyed to find henbit and purple dead nettle infesting ... Read more

2 years ago by Dr. Cynthia Wood.

Naming plants

When people on my Facebook wildflower page talk about plants, there can be massive confusion. Many of them are intimidated by scientific names so they ... Read more

2 years ago by Dr. Cynthia Wood.

Virginia Creeper: vibrant color to brighten a fall day

Visit that massive stone heap, Blenheim Palace, in October and you’ll find the walls near the main entrance and clock tower glowing red in the ... Read more

2 years ago by Dr. Cynthia Wood.

Blue Mushrooms and Hens for Dinner

When I was a kid, about a 1,000 years ago, mushrooms were an exotic food that came in small cans. They were precooked, brownish gray ... Read more

2 years ago by Dr. Cynthia Wood.

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