Sweet Maine Native

Picture 2962This little gem has been catching the eyes of customers while wandering through the nursery here at Fernwood. Linnaea borealis (commonly known as Twinflower) is a sweet little Maine native that often goes unnoticed in the woodland, except for when it is in flower. A small trailing ground cover with glossy evergreen leaves and dainty bell-shaped pink and white flowers, it surprises people with its sweet all-spicey fragrance. The nodding twin flowers are held on an erect stem about 3-4 inches above their (also twin) leaves. Sometimes the smallest and less obvious plants can be the most delightful ones to happen upon!Picture 2971

Some fine words to be thinking and perhaps to live by….

Linnaea borealis here at Fernwood

“To live content with small means. To seek elegance rather than luxury, and refinement rather than fashion. To be worthy not respectable, and wealthy not rich. To listen to stars and birds and babes and sages with an open heart. To study hard, think quietly, act frankly, talk gently, await occasions. Never hurry. In a word, to let the spiritual, the unbidden and the unconscious rise up through the common. This is my symphony.”
—William Henry Channing

A Day Away from Fernwood: Our Gulf Hagas Hike

Recently, we spent a day away from Fernwood and traveled to one of our favorite hiking destinations, Gulf Hagas.  For those who have never been, Gulf Hagas is located in Brownville in the Katahdin Iron Works region.  The river, the hiking trail (part of the Appalachian) and the spectacular falls are well worth the trip. We had a great outing, spent with family and friends and of course, we engaged in a bit of botanizing.

Hobble Bush

Hobble Bush

Included in the many plants we saw that day were Small Solomon Seal(Polygonatum biflorum), Hobble Bush(Viburnum lantanoides), Shinleaf(Pyrola elliptica),Creeping Snowberry(Gaultheria hispidula), Twin Flower(Linnaea borealis), Pipsssewa(Chimaphila umbellata), Rosey Twisted Stalk(Streptopus lanceolatus v. roseus),Painted Trillium(Trillium undulatum), Goldthread(Coptis groenlandica),and Bunchberry(Cornus canadensis).

It’s rewarding to see such beautiful specimens flourishing in the wild. These plants exist and often thrive within their natural habitat without the help of well-meaning gardeners. This is one reason we’ve dedicated so much of our time and energy to propagating native plants. They are well adapted to our climate and soil conditions. If properly sited, native plants will thrive with a minimal amount of effort on our part, especially when compared to most other garden plants. Consider this the next time you have a spot or section of your garden that most plants fail in. A native may be the answer.

We try to make sure we get up to Gulf Hagas at least once a year, and each time we are richly rewarded by the sights and sounds of this beautiful, historical place (Katahdin Iron Works being the only 19th century iron works operation in Maine).  The kids love it, too, as you can see from this video of our son, the daredevil.