Thursday, June 02, 2011

Lovely lady's slipper flowers

Last weekend Mr. T got some wonderful photos of our pink lady's slipper flowers. I thought it would be of interest to share not only the pictures, but also what my Wildflowers of North America book (by Robert Lemmon and Charles Johnson) has to say about them:

"Pink Lady's Slipper, Pink Moccasin, Stemless Lady's Slipper, Two-Leaved Lady's Slipper, Squirrel Shoes, Noah's Ark, Whip-poor-will shoe -- all these common names and probably more are applied to this woodland plant. It is perhaps the most common, widespread and at the same time the crankiest member of its genus. To illustrate:

"You may find it flowering in May and June from Newfoundland through New England and on to North Carolina. From this general line it extends west to Tennessee, into the Mississippi River region and Manitoba. Bogland, damp woods and dry rocky ones -- all are acceptable homes for it. And yet it is notoriously difficult to transplant successfully into some new spot which seems to be perfectly suited to its needs. It may appear there by itself, probably by means of stray seeds, and become well established. But that is another mystifying story.

"This baffling, unpredictable Orchid rarely grows in close colonies. You may find several plants within a square yard, but as a rule they are more widely scattered. It is almost as though they resented crowding."

Who knew they had so many common names? I was only familiar with the first two. Some of the names surely are whimsical.

I can also vouch for the fact that these plants are unpredictable. When we moved here, we had large groups of lady's slippers in our woods. Over time, the groups seemed to get smaller and move around from place to place in the woods. We tried transplanting a couple of them to the wildflower garden, where they thrived for a few years and then disappeared.

This year, they are in a slightly different place still -- in fact, at the edge of the woods quite close to the road. Some are light pink, some are dark pink.

Some are solitary, some are in small groups, like this one of four.

Mr. T counted some 40 lady's slippers just in this area alone!

Do pink lady's slippers grow in your area?


  1. What beautiful wildflowers. You have the perfect place there for these to thrive. Carrie was a busy girl collecting all of these. Has she taken some to her own house?

    In VT I had a "Mother's Day Garden" where each Mother's Day I'd add a new perennial. They were not wild flowers, but so pretty as all flowers are. Tiny grape hyacinth, daffodils in the spring, globe thistle, jacob's ladder, peonies and all sorts of lilies. Whatever looked the most lovely to give my mother for Mother's Day. We transplanted many to this location, but some of the plants didn't make it. Now my daughter's are building an orchard of fruit trees for me. Last year a MacCoun, this year I pick a sweet cherry. If this continues we'll be picking lots of fruit some day.

    Hope Betty had a chance to see these Lady Slipper pics. She'd love them.

    I've never heard of them as "Whip-poor-will Shoes" When I was delivering a roll of aluminum foil to a customer in Campton the other day I heard a Whippoorwill singing clearly from the open car window. It brought back so many memories from when we lived in Maine. I would hear the Whippoorwill all summer long. After moving from there, I don't think I've heard them once. What a treat that was.

    Sorry so long. Thank you for sharing such beautiful flowers with us.

  2. Thanks, Mrs. D for stopping by and leaving such a nice interesting comment! It was so neat to read about your Mother's Day Garden. I want to plant some more perennials. Last year Gina from Home Joys had some good posts about them and I took notes. Tomorrow Carrie and I are going to a greenhouse and I am in hopes to find some of these.

    I had never heard of lady's slippers being called whip-poor-will shoes either. Neat name! We always heard whip-poor-wills at our summer place when I was growing up. Have only heard one once, here at this location. Neat that you could hear one just the other day!


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