lady slippers

5.17.13 ~ Mystic, Connecticut
Liz (Janet’s mom) ~ 5.17.13 ~ Mystic, Connecticut

On Friday, Janet, Liz and I enjoyed a lovely afternoon at a Lady Slippers Walk & Picnic at the Peace Sanctuary in Mystic, Connecticut. Our guide was Maggie Jones, executive director of the Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center. Before we began our walk in the woods, Maggie gave us a little history of the 45-acre sanctuary property.

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5.17.13 ~ Mystic, Connecticut

The Universal Peace Union had been founded in Providence in 1866 by a group of reformers whose belief in nonviolence after years of bloody warfare led them to a broad critique of American imperialism, U.S. immigration and Native American policies. The local branch had formed among Rogerene Quakers around Ledyard, and the first national meetings took place in private homes there. As the number of members grew, including large numbers of women, the annual meeting moved to a larger venue in Mystic. By the 1880s and 1890s, the gathering attracted as many as ten thousand attendees. In 1890, the organization purchased land from Silas Burrows and the Fish family on a hill overlooking the river on the northwestern side of town. Meetings then took place at this open and undeveloped spot, attracting such speakers as reformer Lucretia Mott and author of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” Julia Ward Howe.
~ Leigh Fought
(A History of Mystic, Connecticut: From Pequot Village to Tourist Town)

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happily growing in a decaying tree trunk ~ 5.17.13 ~ Mystic, Connecticut

When peace became less popular around the start of World War II, the land was purchased by explorer, naturalist, cartographer and writer, Mary Jobe Akeley (1886-1966), who turned it into a summer nature camp for girls. Camp Mystic was very popular and attended by girls from across the nation. Renowned explorers often visited the camp and shared stories of their experiences with the girls. Sadly, during the Great Depression the camp was closed.

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almost ready to bloom ~ 5.17.13 ~ Mystic, Connecticut

After her death in 1966, the Mary L. Jobe Akeley Trust & Peace Sanctuary was established and the property is now looked after by the Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center. In the month of May nearly 400 native pink lady slippers, also called pink moccasin flowers, can be found blooming in the woods on the property.

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5.17.13 ~ Mystic, Connecticut

Lady slippers are part of the orchid family and are native to Connecticut. They love the acid soil found in the woods, and need a certain fungus found there in order to survive. They grow 6 to 15 inches tall and the flowers are about 3 inches long. They can often be found growing in decaying logs. I used to see them occasionally when I played in the woods near the swamp where I grew up, so it was a treat to see so many of them in one day!

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5.17.13 ~ Mystic, Connecticut

The pink lady slipper has been the provincial flower of Prince Edward Island since 1947, and the state wildflower of New Hampshire since 1991.

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different stages of blossoming ~ 5.17.13 ~ Mystic, Connecticut

Our walk was mostly uphill and when we reached the top we were treated to an outdoor picnic buffet in a lovely woodland garden. I had stinging nettle soup for the first time, and another soup made with wild leeks.

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narcissus ~ 5.17.13 ~ Mystic, Connecticut
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garden shed ~ 5.17.13 ~ Mystic, Connecticut
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daphne ~ 5.17.13 ~ Mystic, Connecticut
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a frog bidding us good-bye as we made our way back down the hill ~ 5.17.13 ~ Mystic, Connecticut

12 thoughts on “lady slippers”

  1. How was the stinging nettle soup Barbara? If it were simply Nettle soup, it would sound far more appealing but I can only imagine the most delightful food being served at a Peace sanctuary. The Lady Slippers looks very delicate, but I get the impression they may just be a very hardy flower.

  2. I am entranced Barbara. It seems so peaceful and serene, a beautiful place to spend time. I would love to see the lady slippers one day. When we were growing up in Alberta there was a solitary patch of yellow ones growing under a large old willow tree on the banks of a nearby creek. It was one of our spring rituals, waiting for the first flowers to appear. They weren’t common in our area and seemed very exotic to us.
    It sounds like such a lovely day and your photos are beautiful!

    1. Thank you, Colleen! Ohhhh, yellow lady slippers are rare in Connecticut, how wonderful you could look forward to seeing a patch of them coming into bloom every spring! Janet and I saw two of them at a carefully tended wildflower garden in a nearby arboretum several years ago. Exquisite flowers! Maybe it’s time for another visit. I, too, hope you get to see the pink lady slippers some day soon. 🙂
      http://www.ingebrita.net/archives/442

  3. Ah…this post just feels good! Love the purple door photo. Our government would be wise to develop a Department of Peace, don’t you think? Re-arrange our thinking.

    1. Thanks, Monica! I love the Department of Peace idea, focusing on what we want rather than what we all say we’re trying to avoid. Would that every newscast would begin with a story about a peaceful happening each day…

  4. What a lovely place. I saw Lady Slippers for the first time during our trip to the Canadian Maritimes last summer (I think it was in Nova Scotia). I’ve loving the “Department of Peace” idea, too. 🙂
    I visited a Peace Sanctuary in Brandywine, Pennsylvania a few years ago. It was started by Quakers, too.

    1. Nova Scotia sounds about right, Robin, lady slipper native habitat is northeastern United States and southeastern Canada. They are more rare than I realized! I wonder how many Peace Sanctuaries there are in the world? And if they were all started by Quakers? Will have to do some research when things calm down around here. 🙂

  5. What a delightful outing that you have shared even more delightfully! The Lady Slippers are beautiful – I have never seen one in the wild. In fact, the only time I saw orchids in the wild was in the Burren in County Clare, Ireland. I ended up guarding them as some reckless tourists wanted to pick them!

    And, ah, yes … A Department of Peace … alas … makes me think of the song lyrics: ‘Study war no more …’ XO

    1. So pleased you enjoyed the lady slippers walk, Diane, even if only in pictures. Some day I will see bluebells and you will see lady slippers in their respective native wild woods. 🙂

      Our guide thought there weren’t as many lady slippers around as there should have been – unfortunately it seems like someone has been selfishly taking them away, and the plants will probably die if they’re not transplanted in soil with the particular fungus they need in order to survive. We need to study peace and teach respect for nature!

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