Yesterday I decided to set a precedent for 2013 by voting for myself, and getting out to the Nature Preserve that’s a 7 minute drive from my house.

A friend and her husband were out skiing, but otherwise I was alone with the outdoor sanctuary.

20130102-163630.jpg– A sign like this makes me draw in a sharp breath, every single time.

These woods are special for so many reasons. The Hudson River runs adjascent, creating a fine edge habitat.

When spring is turning to summer, there are more Pink Lady’s Slipper Orchids (Cypripedium acaule) than anywhere else I’ve ever been. (And so this is why we need to be vague about the site’s location.) Pink Lady’s Slippers are a DEC categorized protected species and if they are dug up for transplanting, they won’t survive. There’s a delicate relationship with a very specific soil fungus that needs to be pre-existing in the site. We can’t purchase the soil, if it’s not there of it’s own volition, it will die. Immediately.
All that to say, it is something special, spectacular really, to stumble upon a sunlit forest floor at the right time of year and see dozens of these beauties nodding in sucession. It’s like walking into an unexpected and fun surprise party. Timing is the key element.
Winter, spring, summer or fall, visiting nature preserves and absorbing the natural beauty resets my circadian rhythms. This time of year there’s little gardening to do, but more free time. And so I seek garden inspiration from a natural system, and hope to soak up enough of nature’s personality to overwhelm my own, and guide me as I design gardens and build habitat in the capital region.