Showy Lady’s Slipper Orchids – What a Delight!

Showy Orchids photographed by Jeff Zablow at Cedar Bog Preserve, not too far from Dayton, Ohio

I saw those Pink Lady’s Slipper Orchids some 18 years ago or so, in Bear Run Preserve, across the road from Frank Lloyd Wright’s masterpiece, Fallingwater. I was very moved by the elegance of those Lady’s Slippers, and deeply value that one image that so pleased me.

My butterfly work often introduces me to wonderful wildflowers, and that’s how I met Barbara Ann, she expert in orchids of the northeast. Those trips to the Jamestown, New York area reunited me with Pink Lady’s Slippers. We agreed that we would LOVE to see Showy Lady’s Slippers, me for the very first time, Barbara Ann for the first time in many, many years.

Local naturalists steered us here and there, all to no success. We were either too early or too late (or not getting good info ?).

Sometime not too long ago, Barbara Ann met Angela on FaceBook. Angela is a Very enthusiastic orchid seeker, and Angela invited Barbara Ann to western Ohio, to see Showys!! At first mention of this opportunity, I jumped, and in June 2017 we were all there in Cedar Bog Preserve, not too far from Dayton, Ohio.

The largest of these Lady Slipper Orchids, good for that, for this image was taken from the boardwalk trail, and I’ll tell you, it was a real Rush for me! My very first Showy Lady Slipper Orchids.

What say you of the posture, stance, floating in air elegance of these American orchids?

Jeff

Orchids Seduce

Orchid photographed by Jeff Zablow at Cedar Bog, Ohio

June 2017 came and that 4 hour drive to western Ohio held out the double promise of several days with Angela, Barbara Ann, Dave, Janet, Flower, Roger and Joe. Serious naturalists, with deep experience with orchids, butterflies and botany. Orchids were the priority for this multi-day field experience, but I knew that we had to also encounter good butterflies. We just had to, judging from what they shared about our several critical destinations.

Ahead of all that, I wanted to see Showy Lady’s Slipper orchids, finally, once and for all. Jackpot! We met Showys in Cedar Bog. They were as large as advertised, though they were now hours past their peak. You just stood there, as you would if you were steps away from the Royal Family of Great Britain, well aware that you were in the personal space of extraordinary people. Here in Ohio, make that extraordinary orchids, opulent, very, very rare, and regal, very regal. We shared my image of the Showys in a blog several weeks ago.

At Cedar Bog, near Dayton, Ohio, the trail cut its way through wetland, and there these petite, seductive orchids sung to me. Their draw was unmistakable. They cajoled me, asking that I disregard my plan to save my Fuji Velvia 100 film for butterflies, and work to capture what they expressed in abundance, seductive glamour, natural and fleeting. I did, and share the result.

Grass pinks (Calopogon tuberosus). Certainly they are worthy of a more bewitching common name?

Jeff