Friday, June 15, 2007

Bog beauties

Bogs are unique places; the sphagnum mats (if you’re daring and foolish) allow you the chance to walk on water, you can watch plants eat animals, and you’re offered a view into the past. Bogs that I’ve visited in upstate NY have that primeval sort of feel because they've remained untouched and unspoiled since the last ice age. Webb’s Mill Bog in the middle of NJ doesn’t have that same sort of effect because it’s relatively small and next to a major highway, but I’m sure there are similar bogs elsewhere in the Pine Barrens where one can witness this topsy-turvy world without the rush of cars speeding by in the distance.

At the edge of the water, on the buoyant mats of sphagnum moss, tiny orchids gently nod in the soft breath of a late spring afternoon. These wanderers from a much more lush tropical home rub shoulders with sundews and purple-veined pitcher plants, half-filled with rainwater, digesting the days’ catch. The orchids also have their tricks to lure insect pollinators; a colorful lip or beard covered with fleshy hairs that serves as a landing platform for insects. Of the pink orchids that bloom in the Barrens, the Grass Pink Orchid is the one with its beard on the uppermost petal.

I don’t imagine these plants to be rare elsewhere in the country, but for me they’re a colorful reminder of times spent in less urban wildernesses.


Mary said...

They're so delicate, Laura. You have a sharp eye for getting the perfect photo. If you ever quit your day job [which I know you won't :o)], you could write a column in a nature magazine.

KGMom said...

And isn't it sad that too often people look at bogs and think--drain it, clear it, build on it.
I hope we keep such places for the beauty they offer.

Susan Gets Native said...

Oooohhh...I love plants that eat meat!

NatureWoman said...

I *love* bogs and I need to go to the bog near me as soon as I can roust about one of my friends to go with me (I don't mind going to places alone, but a bog, hmmm, I might need some help getting out of a situation). Your flower photos are really pretty Laura.

Trish said...

Your photos are breathtakingly beautiful! So glad I found your blog today. It was such an enjoyable read, and oh those pics! I grew up in NY, but now live in Chicago -- pretty flowers in both places, but I will always be homesick for NY and NJ and CT.