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The Garden Awakens

Anise 'Woodland Red' ( Illicium floridanum ) A few weeks ago, I thought spring would never arrive, but now the change is astonishing. The nights are still cold (40s and sometimes even 30s) so planting tender annuals and vegetables is unwise although I have already succumbed, but covering and uncovering things gets old quickly. Someone made a wise comment last week and I must agree with them - "Don't plant anything tender until after May 1". Several plants are blooming like never before. One is the Anise shrub (above and below). I don't know if the recent tree pruning, which is allowing more sun into the woodland path, is affecting it or perhaps it is just age, but I've never seen so many blooms. Michael refers to this as "the stinky fish shrub" and I have to admit to smell of the flowers is quite unpleasant. It is so beautiful that I can overlook that. The old pink dogwood tree, which was already here, shades our woodland path and it too is prett

Cane Creek Canyon Preserve

On Wednesday, I took a day off from gardening and went on a nature hike with some local Master Gardeners. Cane Creek Canyon Preserve is located in Colbert County (which neighbors my county to the south), just south of Tuscumbia. The property is owned by a couple who have accumulated over 400+ acres over the years and founded this conservatory which is fascinating. I'd been hearing about it for years but this was my first trip. Our mission was to scope out wildflowers, which I admit I know very little about. Deep ravines, gorges, caves, waterfalls and huge boulders cover the property and hundreds of wildflowers and native shrubs flourish. Some plants can only be found in this area. The trees had not leafed out yet and the azaleas were just budding so I hope I can make another trip and take more photos in a few weeks.

The trek was not for the weary or the faint-of-heart. There were all terrain vehicles to carry those around who couldn't climb the steep hills. By the end of the day, I was ready for one. This is the first large waterfall which is located close to the entrance to the canyon.

I wonder how many of us would have ventured to the edge of this rock had we known that it was basically suspended in the air like this -

The most incredible view is from this cliff. You can see almost 2 miles in the distance.

Notice how this tree grows around the rock. I also saw oakleaf hydrangeas growing out of rocks with no soil at all. It was quite amazing.

A cave and waterfall -

One of the huge boulders on the property. The gray-haired gentlemen is the owner of the property.

Our destination - lunch!

The creek -

Notice the roots on this tree!

Now for the wildflowers. This trillium and phlox were growing together.

Trilliums were everywhere -

Here's one of the plants that only grow in this area - American Columbo -

Rue anenome growinging in a rock -

Yellow Trout Lily -

This was called the Boulder Garden. It consisted of a large grouping of giant boulders covered on the top with wildflowers.


  1. What a great place to hike! I love being in the woods and what I wouldn't give to drink in that beauty. Lucky you!

  2. Great photos. thanks for sharing your outing. Wish I was there.

  3. Gorgeous spot and great photos. I would love to be able to identify the wildflowers better and love seeing them in nature the best. Thanks for the tour! Lucky you!
    Frances at Faire Garden

  4. Cool! I'm not sure if my heart is too faint for that or not. :)

    The flower in the rock is Rue Anemone. I've never seen it growing in a rock like that though!

  5. Thanks for the wildflower ID Rurality!

  6. Great shots! That place is gorgeous...the terrain reminds me of Shawnee National Forest in southern Illinois. I went horseback riding/camping over terrain like that...pretty scary! Several times I found myself looking for a tree to grab onto in case my horse spooked and headed over the edge! Hope you get to go back when more things are up, but that anemonie is really cool!

  7. I'm glad I found this post Phillip. This looks like a great place to go for spring flowers and a little heart racing adventure!
    Thanks for posting!!


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