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Orchids at Atlanta Botanical Garden

A quick trip through Atlanta provided just enough time to stroll through the Atlanta Botanic Garden’s Orchid Display House. While I’m not an orchid grower, what gardener and flower lover can resist enjoying the warmth of a tropical atrium and orchid display house during the winter doldrums of February?

In sharing these images I hope you let your imagination wander away from the cold and snow that still envelops Connecticut and much of the rest of the U.S. Think warm humidity, tropical plants dripping with dew, vibrant colors, and intricately beautiful blossoms.

A sign in the Orchid Display House offers some orchid background. Read it to better understand the images that follow.

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But don’t expect any orchid growing advice … I have none.  Just allow yourself to get lost in orchid beauty.

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Atlanta Botanic Garden’s Orchid Display House is filled with specimens from Madagascar, Ecuador, Australia, Central America, Mexico, and Asia. Click the link to learn more.

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Each orchid face is so unique … each has it’s own personality.

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One can almost imagine the orchids coming to life and throwing parties when humans are not around.

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There is no way for me to choose a favorite … or even narrow those most liked down to a few. It’s easy to understand how growing orchids can become an obsession.

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Should you manage to visit Atlanta Botanic Gardens for more than a quick tour, they offer guided tours and orchid care clinics. There’s an Orchid Market Weekend planned April 5-6 for purchasing locally grown orchids and supplies.

But don’t limit yourself to just the orchid display. Atlanta Botanic Garden has multiple outdoor gardens and plant collections including a rose garden, a Japanese garden, a conifer garden, an edible garden, a children’s garden and strolling paths leading to lovely sites. It’s definitely worthy of repeat visits at all times of the year but, to a winter weary northerner, the orchid house is divine.

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2014 Joene Hendry

Devil’s Hopyard Fire-A Year of Regrowth

Devil’s Hopyard State Park, in East Haddam, Connecticut, was a hot topic a year ago. A fire that burned about 150 acres of the park kept local and state firefighters busy for quite a few days and even held the attention of news organizations for more than 24 hours.

A week after the embers and risk for rekindles died, my husband and I hiked along the orange trail to the vista to observe the fire’s aftermath. (See the photos by clicking the link) The contrasts were striking. It was easy to see where the fire was the hottest – along upward slopes – and where it simply burned the leaf litter.

Yet, in just a couple of weeks and once spring rains fell, ferns began to shoot out of the blackened ground.

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By August of 2012 forest grasses filled many of the lightly burned areas.

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Even areas where the fire was the hottest showed signs of recovery four months later.

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Now, a year later, we hiked many of the the same areas of the park to observe how burned sections of the forest look after a full year. Here’s a section of ledge outcropping one week after the fire.

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This is the ledge area a year later. The photo above is of a section just to the left of the photo below. A year ago the area below was totally blackened.

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The view from the vista a year ago reveals where fire moved along the slope.

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The view a year later.  A few small trees still have blackened trunks but evidence of the fire is barely visible at the ground level.

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The fire was most intense along the upward slope along the orange trail leading to the vista. A year ago this slope was completely blackened.  Fire consumed all the leaf litter and was fueled by many fallen trees and standing dead or declining trees. Below are views of the same slope, but from  different angles.

One week after the fire, looking up the slope.

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A year after the fire, looking down the slope.

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There are still blackened trees – only time will tell how many eventually succumb to fire damage – but the burned leaf-litter remains has been absorbed into the ground and is now covered by leaf litter from surviving trees that leafed out last spring and dropped their leaves last autumn … just as they have for decades.

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2013 Joene Hendry
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