In 2012, to my delight, Spring arrived early in the mountains of Appalachia. By mid-March, the bloodroot and trout lilies–the first flowers of spring– had already bloomed and were on their way to seed!  Spring was suddenly advancing quickly. At about the same time, I was anxious to try out and learn how to really use my first digital SLR camera (a Canon T2i). So, I settled on a long-term project.

My plan was to photograph all the wildflowers I could find in my little part of southwest Virginia that year. I wanted to learn them by name, discover what I could about their timing and historic uses, and keep a photo journal of them by season.

So I got started snapping pictures in March and time flew by. The parade of woodland wildflower species faltered once the tree canopy filled in, but then suddenly the fields and roadsides lit up with color and I found myself stalking the flowers that loved open sunshine too. Spring gave way to summer, and summer to fall. By November, I was still at it, photographing late-blooming color whenever I could find it, as well as the seed pods of things that had flowered earlier in the year. By then I had a backlog of pictures that I had not yet posted or even identified in some cases, so my project slowly crept into wintertime as I attempted to catch up.

As spring approached again, I knew there were holes in my journal.  I was missing clear photos of many species or in some cases I was missing the species altogether.  I decided to do what I could to fill in the holes by retracing some of my steps from last year. But when March rolled around, spring was late. Almost nothing was in bloom until April, and once the progression of wildflowers finally did begin, there were fits and starts as the cold weather advanced and retreated. I gained a new appreciation for the spread of bloom dates that I always see in field guides (e.g. March-June): apparently those spreads reflect not only variation due to latitude and elevation, but also variations in weather from year to year.

I am still finding new species and adding them to the blog when I can, and believe it or not, I am now approaching my sixth spring on this project. My original plan to have a photo journal entitled something like “A Year in Wildflowers” will in all likelihood take me several more years to pull off!

If you are game, you can “follow” along with me as I add more species and photos to this blog, and you can also try to spot these beauties blooming in your own neck of the woods. Wildflowers are awesome, and I continue to be amazed at the sheer diversity of species that can be found on the east coast.

To navigate this site, you can go directly to the ALL FLOWERS section in the top menu. To some extent, you can also search by color, or by common or scientific name if you know it.  Just use the “search widgets” in the top navigation.

Last but not least– a selection of local fungi have made their way onto this site (fungi are like that). That’s because I ran into a few members of the New River Valley Mushroom Club while I was out in the woods –and it didn’t take long for their enthusiasm  to rub off on me too!

That’s me and my assistant, Mari, on the Gateway Trail in Montgomery County, VA.

Welcome to Virginia Wildflowers (and a few mushrooms)– I hope you enjoy your visit!

You can contact me (Gloria) by email, or drop me a line in the space below any of my posts. Thanks!

55 thoughts on “About

  1. What a wonderful blog! I will be following your future posts and also coming back whenever I want to have a browse through these patiently taken and collected (and extremely beautiful) photographs. Thanks.

      1. I have, what I think is a mushroom,growing in my front yard. I wanted to attach a picture to see if by chance you could identify it. By the way, we live in Powhatan, Virginia

  2. While searching to find Virginia Wildflowers I came across your blog and my first thought was, Wow! Your photos are amazingly clear and definitive. Now I have a source for identifying the myriad of wildflowers I stumble upon while out photographing birds and other wildlife of Virginia.

    Thanks for your outstanding work!

    1. Thanks, Otis! It has been a rewarding project for me. Not only have I learned a lot about wildflowers by keeping this “journal”, but I’ve also connected with a lot of people. After 3 years of operation the site gets a lot of traffic, especially in springtime. I feel good about that. Thanks for leaving the note! To tell you the truth, I’d be out photographing birds too if I had a better camera. Birds were my first love!

      1. I live 3 miles from the NC state line in Mecklenburg VA and I have a strange plant with a strange name growing in my garden. I think it is a Carolina Elephant’s Foot. Does that make it a Virginia wildflower too?

        1. LOL! I never saw this plant before–that is, until around Labor Day, when I was on the Outer Banks for a late-summer vacation. This plant was growing extensively in the maritime forests I visited (because Tropical Storm Hermione made going to the beach impossible!). I took lots of pictures and meant to look it up. Your message is timely and I’m grateful to you for reminding me to do this. Since you live in Virginia and you’ve seen it here, then by all means, it qualifies for the website! 🙂

          If you want to take photos yourself and send them to me, I’ll include them with my own and give you a Shout Out! Thanks so much, Joyce!

  3. What a fine blog! It is a joy to scroll through the gifts you offer, and a helpful reference as well. Thanks for your work!

  4. Love your website! I am a senior at VCU studying Biology and am taking a Field Botany course this summer. And I recognize a few of the ones you’ve posted! I’m browsing the internet for ideas on a final project and thought of basing it on the beautiful wildflowers of the James River Park System. Have you been out to this part of the state during your tour of Virginia Wildflowers? I would really like an insider’s scoop on good locations to find more flowers!

    1. Hi Gillian,

      Thanks for your comments! Unfortunately I have not been to the area that you are describing, although I imagine most of the flowers on my site would also be found near the James. In terms of giving you tips on place to go to see flowers in the James River Park System, I can’t help you with that question. If your journeys take you further into Southwest Virginia, especially near Blacksburg, I could give you place to go around here. Good luck with your project!

  5. Hi Gillian, Would love to drop you a note to maybe help me with a wee little bloom i’ve been trying to ID for weeks now … but I can’t find an email for you here … please feel free to get back to me at my email and i can send you a picture.

  6. Dear Gloria,

    Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful, detailed wildflower knowledge! I’m fairly new to the (North American) fauna, and your blog has ended many a frustrated flipping through my Audubon wildflower guide.
    Do you think you will ever offer a guided wildflower walk? I live outside Blacksburg, and aside from myself, I can think of at least another handful of friends of mine who would LOVE to participate in something like that! It’s so much easier to remember the plants when you actually see them!

    Again, thanks so much, and have a wonderful, flower-filled weekend!


    1. I’d love to do that. Spring is the best time. There are a couple of great places to go near Blacksburg in April-June. Let’s get back in touch in early April? Thanks for the nice feedback! Glad to know people visit the site! Gloria

  7. Dear Gloria,
    I came across your website today while doing research on some puffballs that I found on our property. I believe that they are gem studded puffballs as they have a covering that is similar to cornmeal, on the surface. Anyways – love your website/blog! I’m a West Coast transplant, living in Dugspur, VA and still learning about the plants here. It was so fun to look through your posts and recognize flowers that I have seen and also to congratulate myself for properly identifying some of them. I saw somewhere here, where I could sign up for email updates, but I can’t seem to find that now. Would love to get updates from you & also interested in any guided walks that you might be planning in the future.
    Thank you! nancy

  8. Hi Nancy,
    Thanks for your note. I hope you’ll find the blog a good resource in the future.

    Before living in Virginia, we spent several years in Corvallis, OR and even more in Mississippi. So I know what you mean about wanting to learn the plants in a new place–that’s largely why I started my wildflower blog/journal. The mountains here are wonderfully diverse, but it also means that it is harder to know all the plants because there are so many kinds!

    You can “follow” the blog by clicking the last link in the right sidebar of any page on the site. I’ll get a notice that you are following, and you’ll get an email when there is a new post. I have to say though that my new posts have slowed down quite a bit, due to a busier work schedule and the fact that I’m not finding as many new plants each time I go out. I do know there are many more to find though and many I have photographed that haven’t made it to the blog yet, so there will be some ahead.

    All the best!

  9. Tried to get my email on your Wanderlust list but it did not go through and yes I checked the password several times. I am interested in any wildflower walks that you may be leading in the spring of 2016. I am an artist (painter) living in Floyd C. And I love your site !

  10. I absolutely LOVE your blog! As an herbalist who has traveled the country learning plants and now settled in my home state again, your site is a fantastic resource for getting reacquainted with Virginia plants. Keep up the great work, and THANK YOU!

  11. Hi Gloria, I live North of you in Highland County, VA and am very pleased that I came across your blog. There is so much diversity out here in the Western Mountain region, I am continuing to find new plants every year…

    1. Welcome to VA Wildflowers! I’ve never been to Highland County but I expect it must be gorgeous, as well as diverse! One of these days I’ll make it up there! Thanks for stopping in to my website. I’ve been remiss this spring about posting, but have several new plants to add soon. I love to know that people find it useful, so thanks for dropping me a note!

      1. I’ve got quite a few wildflower posts, including some wild orchids, typically under “Appalachia” and “Flora” – in case you are interested. Both Bath and Highland Counties have an amazing diversity of plants. I know you’d enjoy a visit up here 🙂

  12. Hi! Thank you for this great thorough blog. I was able to find a plant I couldn’t identify (Lobelia spicata) with field guides just by paging through the postings! The pictures of all the parts and from different angles and states of bloom are excellent!

  13. Thank you so much for the stunning photos. I found your blog when I scanned Google images to find the name of a gorgeous patch of wildflowers (Moth Mullein!) that line my drive. I live near enough (Riner) that I would come, at a moment’s notice, to any guided walks you might offer. Is there any chance that you might go low-tech and paper publish?

    1. Hi Nancy,

      I’d love to join you on a walk sometime but it would have to be on the weekend…I still work full time at Tech. I have missed much of the wildflower season this year due to a busy schedule, but I’d love to get out!

  14. I’m looking for a print, chart, or something of the sort depicting Virginia’s wildflowers along with a label of their name to frame and hang as decoration. Any suggestion as to where I might purchase such a piece?

    Thank you kindly.

  15. Gloria,
    I love your site! I came across it when i was trying to ID Snakeroot for my Master Gardener Group. I did a google search and yours came up. I linked your site on our Facebook page. I live in the Buffalo, NY area and we have many of the wild flowers you have pictured. Keep up the good work, your inspirational!

  16. Just ran across your blog by accident but an immediate fan! I hope you’re involved with the NRV Virginia Master Naturalists! What a treasure this site is! THANK YOU!

    1. Hi Monica,
      Yes, I was enrolled in the NRV Master Naturalists a few years ago. I think most of their instructors know about this blog.
      Hope you’ll find my photo posts valuable in the future!

  17. Best website for Virginia Wildflowers!! I live east of Richmond now after living in Northern Virginia for 30 years. I am enjoying finding the seasonal flowers in my ‘neck of the woods’!

  18. Hello Gloria, I tried several other websites trying to identify a common yellow flower just now blossoming along the Potomac in Northern Virginia and was getting a little frustrated at the poor photography and organization, then found yours. Your photos and description of what I now know is Maximilian’s Sunflower were perfect. Thanks again. I will visit often.

  19. Hello Gloria,

    Your website is beautiful! I am a member of a Master Gardeners group in Indiana. Would you give us permission to reproduce a one of your photos of Eastern Smooth Beardtongue on a sign we are making in our new Pollinator-Friendly Garden? We would be very grateful for your help!

    Jackie Rosales

  20. I love this blog! Thank you for taking the time to put it together. I work in the natural resources field and know the discipline it must take to produce on a project like this. Keep up the good work!

    1. Thanks, Laura! Yes, it takes some time and patience to keep up the site, but I enjoy it and I’ve had lots of good feedback. It makes me happy to know other people are using the site 🙂

  21. Hi, Gloria! I’m so glad to meet you and your charming Virginia Wildflower blog. Just today I stumbled onto this site as I continued a bit of research on the wildflowers at Monticello, this week’s focus on my series exploring colonial Virginia gardens (www.invitationtothegarden.WordPress.com). So MANY different wildflowers in your area! What a treat for you. Did you ever find Dame’s Rocket? I found it growing at Monticello and, later, ordered seeds for this biennial for my gardens in Washington state. Yes, it’s a long way to Virginia, my Dame Family seat. I’d love to know where the name comes from. Do you?

    ~ Jo

      1. A quick on-line research indicates it other names, each one just as fanciful: damask violet, dame’s-violet, dames-wort, dame’s gilliflower, night-scented gilliflower, queen’s gilliflower, rogue’s gilliflower, summer lilac, sweet rocket, mother-of-the-evening and winter gilliflower.

  22. What a coincidence your post about Poke Milkweed (Asclepias exaltata) is for me! I just wrote about milkweed this week, called “Seeds in Silk” as part of a series on plants material for monarch butterflies.

    I’ve often come up on the term “poke weed” in novels set in Apalachia, books like IF THE CREEK DON’T RISE by Leah Weiss. “Poke” is a paper bag or sack, for example, but “poke weed” was listed as one of many wild flowers. From your pictures, I can see why this milkweed is called “poke weed” because the little hanging flowers look like tiny paper sacks!

    May I reblog your post as a guest blog on my site this week (August 16, 2018)? I’m sure my readers would love to see it. Let me know please at pineoakes@gmail.com.

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