Where Wildflowers Bloom
When you take your time to explore, you’ll never know what you’ll find. From North America’s tallest native orchid to fields of carnivorous plants there’s always something in bloom at our preserves. Explore seven places The Nature Conservancy helps protect for show-stopping wildflower displays this spring.
1. THE DRAMATIC SETTING
Table Rocks, Oregon
A springtime visit to Southwestern Oregon’s Table Rocks comes with a generous serving of scenic views and wildflowers. The twin horseshoe-shaped mesas, which The Nature Conservancy manages in collaboration with the Bureau of Land Management and several Indian tribes, were carved by erosion.
April is the best time to see dwarf woolly meadowfoam, a plant that grows nowhere in the world but atop these 800-foot-high plateaus. The mesa tops are also pocked by vernal pools holding a rare species of fairy shrimp.
Join an interpretive hike to learn about the area’s natural and cultural history, or for a different perspective, book yourself on a rafting tour down the Rogue River.
Start your journey at nature.org/tablerocks.
2. THE DESERT BLOSSOMS
Coachella Valley, California
The deserts around California’s Coachella Valley come alive after the winter rains, painting the usually muted palette of the valley floor and nearby Joshua Tree National Park with a riot of vivid yellows, pinks and violets. The Conservancy helped protect the valley’s many rare species with a complex deal that allowed some development to go forward while protecting core habitat.
A strong El Niño, expected this year, usually results in wetter-than-average winters here—and wet winters bring the lush spring wildflower season just in time for the Coachella Valley Wildflower Festival, in March. Combine your trip with a visit to retro-chic Palm Springs or the high-elevation mountain wilderness of Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument.
Start your journey at nature.org/coachella.
3. THE ELEGANT LADY
Eshqua Bog Natural Area, Vermont
Mark your calendar for June 20, when hundreds of showy lady’s-slippers—North America’s tallest native orchid—take the stage at the Conservancy’s Eshqua Bog Natural Area in Vermont. Sharing the limelight are dozens of other fascinating bog and fen plants, including pitcher plants and Labrador tea plants. A new wheelchair-accessible boardwalk opens this dazzling display to all.
Start your journey at nature.org/eshquabog.
4. THE HIDDEN HOLLOW
Taylor Hollow Preserve, Tennessee
Rare trilliums and lilies find haven in a deeply cut, forested valley divided by a spring-fed stream. This Conservancy preserve, purchased in 1978, lies just an hour northeast of Nashville. The hollow provides habitat for aquatic creatures, a small waterfall and a hidden cave.
Start your journey at nature.org/taylorhollow.
5. THE ENCHANTED ROCK
Enchanted Rock State Natural Area, Texas
Not far from Austin, bluebonnet, Indian paintbrush and other species surround a massive pink granite dome. The Tonkawa Indians considered the dome to be haunted by spirits revealed in the sounds of creaking and groaning caused by natural heating and cooling of the rock. The Conservancy protected this rare batholith in 1978 and later turned it over to the state.
Start your journey at nature.org/enchantedrock.
6. THE BLUE PRAIRIE
Kitty Todd Nature Preserve, Ohio
In May, brilliant splashes of blue lupine light up this 1,000-acre preserve outside Toledo. The Conservancy has spent decades restoring this habitat, which is home to the endangered Karner blue butterfly. Because most species here are dependent on frequent disturbance, especially fire, the Conservancy uses prescribed burning and mowing here.
Start your journey at nature.org/kittytodd.
7. THE CARNIVOROUS BOG
Ruth McClellan Abronski Splinter Hill Bog Preserve, Alabama
Carnivorous-plant lovers descend on this Conservancy preserve each April to gape at the swaths of pitcher plants in bloom. Much of the site is covered by some of the largest and most visually impressive white-topped pitcher plant bogs in the world.
Start your journey at nature.org/splinterhill.