Posts Tagged With: dog-friendly

Early Spring Walk at Sandhill Crane NWR in Gautier, Mississippi


For the first time in a year or more, I was able to spend a couple of hours at the Sandhill Crane National Wildlife Refuge in Gautier, Mississippi.

I’ve been going there for six or seven years. They have a wonderful visitor center with educational displays and a gift shop. Hubby bought me a new pair of earrings from Jabebo. I love their recycled earrings and own several. The site has some areas for picnics too.

On this day, a viewing platform was located out behind the visitor center to enable guests to view several of the Sandhill Cranes were are being acclimated to their new home. Unbelievably, it was my first time to actually see any of the cranes at the refuge. Unfortunately, it was too far for me to photograph, even with a telephoto lens.

It was a lovely day to take a hike on the trail which winds through the pine savanna.  Longleaf pine savannas are endangered ecosystems and harbor many wonderful native plants and provide habitat for countless wildlife species.

We have hiked the trail at this location many times with our dachshunds, but not since losing our male last summer to cancer.

Our female was not feeling up to the walk and she preferred to ride in her backpack. Heck, at nearly 17 years old, she is certainly entitled to off days.

I always appreciate signage of the plant material. Identified here is rattlesnake master. I love that name!

Notice the different colors of the carnivorous, pitcher plant flower heads!

The pitcher plants were showing well-formed flower heads that will soon open.

Many dried flowers were to be found. Some with interesting character that would be beautiful in dried arrangements.

Chaptalia tomentosa (wooly sunbonnets) were in full bloom.



Parrot pitcher plants, sundews, and other carnivorous plants were to be found. I think parrot pitcher plants are my favorite. They look like little parrots laid over in the grass. They have ten carnivorous species in their refuge.

Be sure to walk slowly and look closely so you don’t miss the tiny sundews!

As a horticulturist working for a blueberry breeder, I also enjoy observing the native Vaccinium species when we are hiking.

Again, thanks for the signage!

Could anything be cuter than a root named candy? Orange candyroot/milkwort flowering here: Polygala lutea

Even the simple, delicate coastal violet gets a sign!

I think this is a southern fence lizard?

The native longleaf pine has giant pine cones.


“In the wild Mississippi sandhill cranes can only be found on and adjacent to the Mississippi Sandhill Crane NWR. There are only about 100 individuals remaining.” Stop by if you are even along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Check out their calendar of events or sign up on their email list to stay up to date with future programs.


The Garden Maiden

All text and images copyright 2019 The Garden Maiden


Categories: National & State Parks, What's Blooming | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Bogue Chitto State Park, LA: plants in bloom March 2014



Bogue Chitto State Park is located in Franklinton, Louisiana (about 35 minutes north of Abita Springs, LA). I recently traveled there for a hike with my husband and two dogs. What a wonderful surprise! I am only sorry we did not know about this state park sooner. As pictured above, there was tremendous spring color to be found, including Gelsemium sempervirens, Prunus serotina, and native maple (Acer species).

Below are many images I captured during our hike, which wasn’t the ideal time for photography, but photography wasn’t the reason for our visit. I would love to elaborate more on each plant, but working with the images, researching the plants, and putting it all together has maxed out my daily limit. Where in doubt of the species, I have only indicated the Genus.



Malus species in flower. TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2014

The image above is likely a crabapple. Note the pale pink blossoms, indicative of the Malus genus. Below is what looks like a wild apple. Its a rather old, shaded tree, but the flowers were all white and very beautiful in the afternoon sun.

Malus species. TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2014

Malus species. TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2014

Parsley hawthorn. TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2014

Parsley hawthorn. TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2014

The images here (above and below) are small trees/large shrubs in the Crataegus genus. My first thought was definitely parsley hawthorn, an outstanding native. In the first image, the flowers seem to be more white, whereas in the lower image, the tree seemed to have very dominate pink anthers (pollen part). It could have been lighting I suppose, but it gave off a different feel. (don’t forget, you can double click each image to see the larger size as these are “medium”)



Below is a Trillium! One of spring’s sweet surprises. Keep your eyes peeled on the ground for this low growing and somewhat shy native.

Trillium. TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2014

Trillium. TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2014

The Illicium at this state park were incredible. Hurry and get up there now to see the glorious blooms. I had never seen so many Illicium floridanum in one area, and certainly not blooming!  While quite showy, their smell was somewhat along the lines of a dirty fish aquarium.  But you did have to get close to smell it. I had a variegated variety of this native growing in my yard, but it did not survive the year after planting.  I would like to try again.

Illicium floridanum. TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2014

Illicium floridanum. TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2014

In a recent post about what’s blooming in my yard, I included a note about Vaccinium elliottii, Elliott’s blueberry. There were several plants still blooming along the trails at Bogue Chitto.

Vaccinium elliottii. TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2014

Vaccinium elliottii. TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2014

I could not have been more surprised to find a flowering dogwood along the trails. Some of the trails lead you up hills with overlooks of the ravines below. This higher level of well-drained soil provided the perfect niche for a dogwood. This tree was relatively old and the flowers were about twenty feet high into the canopy. They were not white, but a creamy light yellow.

Cornus florida. TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2014

Cornus florida. TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2014

I spotted a couple of little violets, some that were white tinged with purple and this lovely lavender colored specimen below.

Viola. TheGardenMaiden_copyright

Viola. TheGardenMaiden_copyright-2014

Often seen popping up in lawns, species of the genus Hedyotis could be found along the trails in sunnier locations.

Hedyotis. TheGardenMaiden_copyright

Hedyotis. TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2014

Last week I photographed Nothoscordum in my own yard and have since found huge swaths of it blooming in unmowed roadsides. The image below was a specimen along the trails we hiked.

Nothoscordum bivalve. False garlic. TheGardenMaiden_copyright

Nothoscordum bivalve. False garlic. TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2014

Certainly I was impressed with all the native blooming plants at Bogue Chitto, including several Halesia, I believe H. diptera. Similar to the flowers of Elliott’s blueberry, Halesia diptera have cute little bell-like flowers that hang daintily from their slender stems.

Halesia diptera. Silverbell.  TheGardenMaiden_copyright

Halesia diptera. Silverbell. TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2014

Its always fun to identify a plant that you never remember seeing or learning before. Such was the case with the small tree below: Symplocos tinctoria (common sweet leaf)! Getting up close and personal with the flowers was a special treat.

Symplocos tinctoria. TheGardenMaiden_copyright

Symplocos tinctoria. TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2014

The genus Senecio is large and at the moment I don’t have time to key out the two yellow-orange spring wildflowers. They are members of the family Asteraceae and as best as I can tell, are both in the genus Senecio. They were blooming side by side along the shadier areas of the trail, particularly the lower, wetter areas.

Asteraceae family. Either Senecio a.k.a. Packera genus. TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2014

Asteraceae family. Either Senecio a.k.a. Packera genus. TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2014

Asteraceae family. Either Senecio a.k.a. Packera genus. TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2014

Asteraceae family. Either Senecio a.k.a. Packera genus. TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2014


You can find a great resource from Louisiana State University Ag Center in their Native Tree Guide.

The bathrooms were clean, stocked, and plentiful. Our dogs had a great time hiking the trails with us and we can’t wait to go back. There were hills to climb, streams, lakes and a river to to explore. Many folks were camping, running trails, hiking, biking, fishing  and walking with families and friends.  It was a very safe and well-maintained park. Kudos to LA State Parks!


Exit sign at Bogue Chitto State Park. TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2014_BogueChittoStatePark_RStafne-360_WEB

Exit sign at Bogue Chitto State Park. TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2014

We recommend ending a day of hiking with some tasty, fresh, local microbrews and grub at the Abita Brew Pub in Abita Springs. Their patio is also leashed-dog friendly!

Keep on Growin’
The Garden Maiden

All images and text copyright 2014 The Garden Maiden

Categories: National & State Parks, What's Blooming | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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