Walk on the Wild Side

Trip Start Mar 07, 1997
Trip End Dec 25, 1998

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Flag of United States  , Tennessee
Friday, April 11, 1997

Go with me? Let's see - walking shoes, magnifying glass, empty car trunk. I guess we're ready.

We're going to THE spring event for gardeners, plant lovers, and those who just like the out-of-doors.

It's the annual Wildflower Festival at the Chattanooga Nature Center and Reflection Riding, where a five-dollar bill will buy us a gallon of sundrops. Kids will have as much fun here as grownups. After all, they are closer to the ground!

Guided walks will take us to Wildflower Cove, Oliver Freeman's Hollow, and the Wetland Walkway, where masses of blue-eyed Mary line the trail.

Our guide will intrigue us with plant lore and tall tales. "Bachelors of the Ponca tribe rubbed the juices of the bloodroot plant on their palm before shaking the hand of the girl they wanted to marry," you may hear. "And there would be a wedding within six days!"

With our noggin full of knowledge, we'll delve into the plant sale. Handouts list the plants we need for our sunny areas, and which prefer the shady corners of our yard. Time to load the car with cups and gallons of bishop's cap and Dutchman's breeches, Carolina pea and Hoary Mountain mint, jack-in-the-pulpit and fairy candles. And of course the sundrops, for a yellow-flowered spring and lovely crimson foliage in the fall.

Allow plenty of time to explore our in-the-city wildlife preserve. With mountainside acres cradling miles of roads and trails, and a 1,200-foot walkway built over the wetlands of Lookout Creek, there's room for year-round roaming. Go for the solitude and the history. Go to learn about flowers and birds and other critters. Go to canoe the creek. Go often!

"There is a lot of benefit in getting to know a place and watching the years circle around it," says Julia Gregory, assistant director. "If I didn't work here, I'd come once a week just so I could watch it change."

This is a fine week to begin. See you there.

Chattanooga Nature Center and Reflection Riding, Garden Road, Chattanooga
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