Serendipity 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.
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.
In 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!