Spring Ephemeral Paradise

Like many fellow gardeners, I've been spending a lot of time in my garden this spring. I love it, but I sure do miss all the garden tours, visits with gardeners and plant sales that typically happen this time of year. So, when I got an invite to visit a friend and fellow Master Gardener's property to see the spring ephemerals, I was delighted. [Apparently so much so that I failed to charge my camera battery. All photos taken with cell phone camera] We practiced social distancing and were outdoors the entire time. It was lovely not only to walk the property and take in all the nature, but also to chat with a friend in person [No zoom session or video chat]. I suppose one doesn't even realize how much you miss that interaction until you get it back.

Marsha's property is a treasure of native plants. It is awe-inspiring! I imagine this is what the woodlands use to be like everywhere in North Georgia before it was touched by the human hand.

We walked down the driveway lined with river birch, red buds, sweet shrubs and other spring ephemerals in a very natural setting. At the bottom of the driveway is the creek/river and this is where the photographic account begins.

Our visit was timed perfectly as this past weekend was the peak bloom time for many of the spring ephemerals that blanket the woodland floor. We gingerly walked the small trails through the woodlands that border Wahoo Creek. The number of native spring ephemerals is jaw dropping.

The soft sounds of the gently flowing water provided a peaceful ambiance as we tip toed through the masses of mayapples, trilliums, foam flowers and ferns. My mom and I were oohing and ahhing at every turn. This is recognizably the perfect environment with the right amount of moisture, light and hummus soil.

Mayapple with Maidenhair fern
The foam flowers were remarkable; finding life in decaying logs amongst the ever abundant mosses.

foam flower, moss and climbing hydrangea

Foam flower

The trilliums were oversized. They blanketed the space between the creek's edge and the hillside. Hundreds upon hundreds of trilliums. Spectacular doesn't even to begin to describe the scene.

carpet of trillium grandiflorum

Toadshade trillium
There were so many details to take in. I imagine one could walk the trail everyday and find something new; like this industrious snail that was munching on a leaf in the middle of the path.

Once we finished the right side of the driveway, we crossed to the left side where the setting changed. This area was much boggier and belonged to the Jacks. Masses of Jack in the Pulpits. I've never seen so many in nature before.

Jack with purple stem

Jack with green stem

Jack in the Pulpit
Ferns and Gray's sedge (Carex grayii) mingle with the Jacks. Marsha showed me how to pop the [morning star] club shaped seed heads of this sedge. It's nature's bubble wrap!

Gray's sedge (Carex grayii)
We made our way out of the woodland area to the bank of the rushing river.

This sunnier space is home to a carpets of green and gold, Cinnamon ferns, doghobble as well as Catesby's trillium, Amsonia, Hearts-a-bustin', and sweetshrub.

Cinnamon Fern along river bank

Dog hobble

Catesby's trillium under pine trees
We continued to the back of the home through a tunnel of mountain laurels to see this spectacular view of an old mill site and bird sanctuary.

On this steep bank are a host of sturdy plants, but if one looks closer there are dainty plants too.

Rattlesnake weed with lichens
birds foot violet nestled amongst the rocks
Believe me when I say that the photos don't do this property justice or tell the whole story. This is an ever evolving woodland, which changes through the months and seasons. It is a natural paradise. And, under the stewardship of Marsha and her husband this area is in good hands for future generations. 


  1. Jaw dropping is the perfect word Karin and wow, wow, wow. Thank you for sharing.

    1. It is incredible Gail! You would love this place. So many more plants that I didn't get photos of or mention but I've never seen anything like it.

  2. What an amazing property! That Catesby's Trillium is really special--we don't have it here. Thanks for taking us along on the tour!

    1. It is truly spectacular. Our are of North Georgia is a really special place for the number of native plants. We have so many trillium varieties. A few years ago I found a Catesby growing on our property. It is really special.

  3. Replies
    1. It is incredible! It was a real treat to walk amongst all the spring ephemerals!

  4. Lovely. I miss seeing all of our natives out in natural places, even as we enjoy them in our own garden.

    1. Me too. My heart skips a beat when I find native plants out in nature. And when you see masses of them like this property it is remarkable!

  5. This is inspiring. We have planted spring ephemerals and wait to see what blooms. Also many ferns.... I wanted to let you know that I have restarted Nature Notes meme...stay well...Michelle

    1. Thanks for letting me know Michelle. I love ferns. One can never have enough IMO and they work so well in a variety of landscape styles.

  6. Fantastic. Reminds me of that one trip we took to the Great Smoky Mountains in spring. Do you know what plants emerge after these ephemerals have faded away? Is it mostly ferns?

    1. I have never visited in summer so I don't know for sure. I would think it would be mostly ferns. I'll have to ask next time I see Marsha.


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One of my favorite things about blogging is the conversation with readers. Leave a comment and let's get talking. ~Karin

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