A Walk with Angus Gholson

Angus and Leigh in the HerbariumSerendipity touched me again this past weekend as I worked the booth for FTA out at the Blountstown Greenway grand opening. I went to pick up a new trail guide to Apalachicola Bluffs & Ravines Preserve and ended up talking to Leigh Brooks, who lives just up the street from the Gholson Nature Park in Chattahoochee. When I mentioned I planned to stop there and hike on my way home, she said “let me introduce you to Angus!” I met her the next morning and we visited Angus in his Herbarium, the world’s most complete collection of Apalachicola River basin botany, that he’s accumulated and preserved for decades in what used to be a Model T garage. A native of Chattahoochee, Angus and his wife live in the house he grew up in, and he’s spent a lifetime roaming the steepheads and forest slopes along the Apalachicola River in search of botanical wonders. He’s even discovered a few never known of before, so there are some named for him.
Angus and Lee at the spring
We took a walk together at the park, savoring the deep shade and the hundreds of tiny flowers just-past-bloom and in bloom along the steep slopes. It was important to me to pay attention to the botany and to Angus, so I didn’t take my usual trail notes…I’ll return and do that later. Suffice to say for now that this is a park that anyone who loves wildflowers should make sure they don’t miss. Fringed campionIn addition to fringed campion (very showy) and woodland pinkroot, we saw green dragon and a milkweed that is endemic to the area. Further expedition with Leigh on a nearby tract let me see lance-leaved trillium and croomia, and she made a point of showing me every little nook and cranny around Chattahoochee where wildflowers could be found. What a fabulous destination for flora!


  1. Kathy S. Johnson says

    Would it be possible for me to run this in next week’s edition of Twin City News? We, here in Chattahoochee, are very proud of the work Mr. Angus has done and are thrilled when others me him and are introduced to our beautiful area. Hope you enjoyed the nature park tour. My grandsons call the area the “magic swimming pool.” BTW, you have Chattahoochee spelled wrong in the article. Please advise if permission is granted to run this.
    Kathy S. Johnson
    Managing Editor
    Twin City News

  2. says

    Sandra – I have been fortunate to have known about the Chattahoochee nature garden for many years (I have a movie online of Angus speaking at its dedication at http://www.flwildflowers.com/newspage.html. You might like to watch it. I was recently guided around the park area by Leigh Brooks who has gone out of her way to share the wildflowers of the area. Many of the flowers on my website are from Gadsden. Having grown up in Miami, I worry about the unparalleled populaton growth and pressures for development in Florida. Walter Taylor sums up the problems very nicely in the opening pages of his book on flowers in their natural communities.

    Congratulations on your project.

    Mike Abrams

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