Having just returned from a refreshing respite in the wilds of Blowing Rock and the North Carolina Blue Ridge, Hoot Owl Karma quickly settled back into the busy routine of life in Lee County, pausing occasionally to reflect on the wonders of nature we had left behind...
Then came a quick trip to Goldston to deliver payroll to a valued client. Sparks of orange alongside the rural byway lit the fires of our imagination, and prompted a return trip that evening to satisfy our curiousity.
Hunch confirmed. One of the more spectacular native North Carolina orchids, the lovely yellow-fringed orchid. (Yes, it looks orange to us as well!)
The orchids were not the lone wildflowers on the weedy ditch bank in northwestern Lee County; these polygala curtissii, Curtiss' milkwort, were part of a diverse mix of flora to rival what we'd encountered in the far off mountains, right here at home!
Imagine our delight when this little gem came into view, a Carolina lily, easily the equal of any we'd seen on the rain-drenched slopes of Watauga County.
And these delicate Virginia meadow beauties are right at home here in the heart of Carolina.
Same lily, different angle, just as lovely...
A single petal seems determined to resist whatever invisible force compelled the others into such a severe repose.
This little gem looks a bit more yellow than our yellow-fringed orchids; one of our several North Carolina St. John's Worts perhaps?
Another orchid, fringes just unfurling, high on the bank above Highway 42; and the same orchid as a car whizzes past. Wonder if they pass here often; and if so, whether they've ever noticed these bright orange sparklers?
One last look at lily,
then we turn our attention to a larger gathering of orchids...
A visual feast, on a random roadside, smack dab in the middle of the Deep River Triassic Rift basin just west of Sanford. Lovely and diverse flora, growing much as they have in this spot for millennia...
Orchids in every direction...
Interspersed with delightfully diminutive native wild blueberries; dark, dark blueberries, and very sweet!
More orchids, and
more blueberries, what a delight!
More orchids, this time with purple asters.
Then another lily, and another, and another - we count six in all.
Our senses overwhelmed by the unexpected biodiversity of our own backyard, we yield to the strengthening raindrops, and head for home...
heartened at the prospect of a return visit very soon; after all, home is just up the road.