100% Nature This Week
1. My New Fave Tree: last Sunday, John and I visited the US National Arboretum—only our second-ever visit there. We thought that doing something out in nature might be a good, safe pandemic activity…and we were right. I felt comfortable there; everything we did was outdoors. Plus, the arboretum requires masks and is currently limiting attendance. For large parts of our visit there was no one else around us. It was so lovely! I fell in love with this fairy tale tree (no idea what type of tree it is, I was so taken with it that I forgot to look for a tag). It looks like a tree that little fantasy creatures would make their home.
2. Calanthe: as we strolled through the arboretum’s Asian collection, I was super psyched to spot this wild orchid growing out of the ground!! The tag said it’s a Calanthe Sieboldii x Calanthe discolor. This is only the second orchid I’ve ever seen in the wild! The first was on a hike in the Oregon forest several years ago. How cute are these little blooms?? I’ve since looked at the arboretum’s interactive map and they have a bunch of other orchids growing in different areas. Guess we’ll have to go back and look for them.
3. Bletilla: it didn’t take long before I spotted a different type of wild orchid in bloom! This orchid was also located in the Asian collection, but I didn’t see a tag for it. After posted photos on my orchid Instagram, a couple commenters identified it as a Bletilla striata, which is also known as the Chinese Ground Orchid. This little stand of orchid plants only had a couple open blooms but many buds, so there will be a lot more flowers in that area soon. Just another reason for a return trip…
4. Asian Collection: we spent most of our arboretum visit roaming this section, which is just so beautiful. The arboretum is huge (446 acres!) so there’s a whole lot to explore. I could have spent the whole time just in this one area! It had rained the night before our visit, so everything was extra lush and green.
5. Weeping Katsura: I forgot to look at this tree’s tag, but from looking online it appears to be a Weeping Katsura. This tree looks like a giant green monster! But like a friendly monster. This tree is also located in the Asian collection. So striking and beautiful. According to the arboretum’s website, it smells like cotton candy in the fall. That’s something I’d like to go back and take a whiff of!