I enjoyed a whirlwind tour of Chattahoochee’s botanical wonders on Sunday thanks to Leigh Brooks, who worked for The Nature Conservancy for many years and is extremely knowledgeable about the unique botany along the Apalachicola River.
The first thing she did was took me to see Angus Gholson, the man who has spent a lifetime learning and sharing all there is to know about the region’s flora. After a visit to his herbarium and a chance to admire the Ashe magnolia blooms, we headed down to the nature park named in his honor and poked around for rare wildflowers in bloom, and we were not disappointed. In one tract near the park, Leigh introduced me to croomia, a plant I’d learned about but never had seen before.
A driving loop down along the Apalachicola River and past the dam yielded more showy botanical treasures, including oakleaf hydrangea in bloom.
We finished up with a visit to a natural area hidden behind the state prison, where the trail has been let go but the shores of Cypress Cove are as pretty as can be. I’ve had the chance to write these places up for Exploring Florida’s Botanical Wonders, which is now consuming all of my “spare” time. Thanks, Leigh, for treating me to a side of Chattahoochee I didn’t know was there!