Oh Where Have You Gone, Jeffrey Boy, Jeff Boy . . .

Pink Lady's Slipper Orchid, photographed by Jeff Zablow in Chapman State Park, PA

Headed back today to Chapman State Park, in the Allegheny National Forest. This is northwestern Pennsylvania, near the New York border.

On Friday, June 3, I will enjoy my PowerPoint presentation at the Jamestown Audubon Center. Brownbag lunch after, followed by a . . . field walk. I’ve chosen some of my favorites images, and Boy! I wish you could come. I’d foot the admi$$ion charge, if that’s what it takes!

Will be in my cabin at Chapman through June 7th, and Petra will be even happier than I. Field work those days, mostly headed to bogs and wetlands, for bog butterflies and . . . Orchids!

Oh i’ve gone to Jamestown, to seek me a Bronze Copper (or Showy orchid (I can dream)), it’ll be the  Joy of my Life . . . . From a childhood song I mostly recall.

Jeff (offline ’til I return home)

Northeastern U.S. Orchids

Pink Lady's Slipper (hooded), photographed by Jeff Zablow in Chapman State Park,  PA

Yes, there are American orchids. Are they the same orchids that are now sold in all large supermarkets? No.

U.S. orchids tend to be very habitat sensitive. They generally will not survive in a pot on your kitchen windowsill. Like most of our magnificent blooms and wildlife, their habitat requirements are real and special.

This Pink Lady’s Slipper Orchid blossom was seen in a wooded grove in Chapman State Park, within the giant Allegheny National Forest. Some 7.5 hours drive east from New York City (for our international friends). It prefers moist ground, in spots where there is a break in the canopy of densely wooded habitat.

I remember when I came upon my first one, at Bear Run Reserve, in the Laurel Highlands of Southwestern Pennsylvania. You may have been just a few hundred feet away from that spot, if you have ever visited Fallingwater, Frank Lloyd Wright‘s architectural phenomenon. Bear Run is just across the road. I saw them, and fell forever in Love.


A Native Orchid Near You

Pink Lady's Slipper Orchid, photographed by Jeff Zablow in Chapman State Park, PA

When you approach this native orchid, in its late Spring secluded forest, dappled light dancing through the trees, all the clutter on your mind disappears. Pink Lady’s Slippers are starkly beautiful. Never found in large groups, they are rare, finicky and exist in very limited numbers. The color is a rich red. The bloom, when seen up close is other-worldy, reminding me of the human heart, or some Star Trekkian thing. You watch your step, you speak in hushed tones, because, well because you feel that you are in the presence of something very vital, very Big.

These were flourishing in Chapman State Park, set in the much larger Allegheny National Forest, in northwestern Pennsylvania. I drove the several hours to see native orchids (and butterflies). June 2015, and I remember the moment that these blooms were spotted. Another Oh My Goodness Moment! How many of those do You enjoy per week?  Month?

Oh, admission fee? Zero.