Weekly Photo Challenge: Escape

My idea of “escape” includes hiking the local forests and fields in search of wild flowers and great photo opportunities.  Thanks to a photographer friend who also loves native plants, I was led to some woodland treasures I would otherwise not have discovered on my own:  native orchids.  My favorite one is the yellow Lady’s-Slipper (Cyprepedium calceolus).

Yellow Ladyslipper Orchids

Yellow Ladyslipper Orchids

I was not prepared for how large the plant itself is, about two feet tall, and how striking the two-inch pouch-like flower.  There were only two stands of yellow Lady’s slippers on an entire hill side covered with other, smaller orchids and maidenhair ferns.  Unfortunately, people love these wild orchids to death – they’ll dig them up and transplant them into their gardens where they die.  These orchids have very special growing requirements relying on  endomycorrhizal fungi in the soil that just do not exist in an ordinary garden.  Why do people always want to OWN things rather than just enjoying them in their true, wild habitat?

Here is a close-up of one of these precious, utterly beautiful flowers:

Yellow Lady's Slipper Orchid

Yellow Lady’s Slipper Orchid

The same area that provided habitat for the yellow Lady’s slippers, also produced hundreds of Showy Orchis (Galearis spectabilis), a much smaller native orchid.  Only six to twelve inches tall, it produces a respectable spike of lilac to magenta colored flowers with white sepals and petals forming a hood.  Their scent was crisp and a bit lilac-ey.

The third kind of orchid was far away from the road so no one could stumble upon them accidentally.  Maybe because of their remote location, these flowers managed to form huge colonies covering the forest floor.

Pink Lady's Slipper Orchids

Pink Lady’s Slipper Orchids

The Pink Lady’s Slipper (Cypripedium acaule) is only 6 to 15 inches tall, but has a two to three inch flower which is a pouch consisting of two lobes.  The color ranges from a very light pink to a light magenta color.

Three pink sisters

Three pink sisters

Single pink lady

Single pink lady

It was truly thrilling to find these orchids growing wild and in such abundance.  A blessed escape, indeed.

About Beauty Along the Road

My name is Annette. I am passionate about nature, health, simplicity, self-reliance, truth, and life-long learning. Originally from Germany, I now live in Virginia, USA. I am a therapist, health coach, writer, photographer, and organic gardener.
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38 Responses to Weekly Photo Challenge: Escape

  1. What beautiful orchids, Annette, and in the wild no less! It’s lucky for you that you happened upon them. It’s too bad people feel the need to own them, and in the process destroy them. 🙂

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    • Thank you, Cathy. It was such a blessing to witness so much beauty in one place.

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      • Darlene says:

        Thank you for the post about the orchids. I am also passionate about natural beauty and finding those rare gems that are left to flourish undisturbed. I have just begun my quest to witness wild orchids. I have been blessed to see some this spring. Can you share the site you found the yellow orchids? perhaps privately, as I understand the need to protect them. I have enjoyed your blog!

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  2. Discovering a Lady’s-Slipper when you are hiking is a truly amazing event. It rates right next to sitting on a rock, from a safe distance, and watching a bear and her cubs. Your pictures absolutely do justice to that event, they are gorgeous.

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  3. weaver8son says:

    Exquisite photos – like a grand ballerina

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  4. What a stunning find, Annette! Not something I would expect to see in Virginia either.

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  5. love the yellow close up.

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  6. Annette, thank you so much for connecting with me (Via Hanne) and it’s wonderful to come and visit your incredible blog. I love your creative interpretation of the ‘Escape’ theme and I’m very much looking forward to seeing the world through your eyes. What a pleasure. Can’t wait! Peace and blessings to you. Michele

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    • Hi Michele, very nice to meet you, too. I enjoyed your work on your blog and it looks like we have some similar interests. Looking forward to seeing our work unfold….

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      • Hi Annette, lovely to meet you here and I’m excited to meet a fellow photographer/poet. You sound wonderful and your blog is very inspiring. I promise to return soon for another visit. By the way, in another comment you asked why I chose to learn German? Your question got me thinking. The simple answer is that I don’t feel completely at home in English; and, at the time, I was looking for other forms of linguistic expression.

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  7. Quite frankly, I would shit if I ever came across orchids in the wild!!!! What a find!!!!

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  8. Chasquita says:

    Such spectacular flowers and beautiful photographs. Nature should be left to be nature.

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  9. EagleAye says:

    Beautiful flowers. Orchids are just wonderful flowers. Great pics!

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  10. Touch2Touch says:

    Why DO people insist on owning things? And people? Good question.
    You can own everything if you’re content to own by looking, and admiring, and being grateful.

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  11. mpejovic says:

    I had no idea orchids grew in Virginia. I guess you learn things every day.

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  12. Rosanna says:

    How wonderful that you had the opportunity to see orchids in the wild. Where I live, we only see the cultured ones. Beautiful photos, nice escape!

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  13. Holly Ulrich says:

    Love the wild orchids! We used to have pink lady slippers growing in the woods behind my house when I was growing up in NH- they’re so wonderful & special! and you’re so right about why do people always feel they have to OWN things instead of just enjoying their beauty & moving on.

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  14. What an amazing collection of wild orchids, how lucky to find so many and such variety in a small area. Isn’t nature incredible with her abundant variety🙂

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  15. puglife says:

    Beautiful shots! Love the close up of the Yellow Lady’s Slipper.

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  16. An exciting adventure. I am amazed at how abundant Lady’s-Slippers are in this forest. A gem of a discovery. Beautiful pictures!

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  17. Pingback: Oh, The Places You’ll Go: My first blogging year in review | The Beauty Along the Road

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