View of the Munger Trail, not far from where
my friend lived.
My first photo of my friend, taken September, 2012. Seed pods are visible
at the top of her stems.
I might have missed her, if I hadn’t already had such Ladies on my mind. As you can see, I’m not talking about a person but a flower, and not just any flower, but our State flower, the Showy Lady Slipper (Cypripedium reginae).
|The Munger Showy sprouting in the spring.|
|Showy sprouts getting bigger.|
|The Munger Showy, July 2013, with a butterfly caught in her slipper.|
|Showy seed pods, visible in the winter.|
Truck full of rescued Showys that Mr Diener helped save (note the reflection
of Mr Diener in the side of the truck). Photo credit: Tom Diener.
So I contacted Martin Torgerson, the DNR Moose Lake Area Supervisor, to ask for permission to move her to Jay Cooke State Park, where Mr Diener works in the summer and where some other Showy Slippers grow. A couple days later, he put me in touch with Tyler Gangelhoff, the Assistant Manager of the Park, and he gave his permission for Mr Diener and me to transplant her. The Park Naturalist, Kristine Hiller, marked a spot for us near some of the other Showys at Jay Cooke, and Mr Diener and I then went about the business of planning the Rescue Operation. Mr Diener said Easter weekend seemed like an appropriate time for such an endeavor.
Diener's rescued Showys, blooming in the Park. They'll be the
Munger Showy's companions.
On Saturday, then, Mr Diener and I met at the Becks Road trailhead and biked to the Slipper. Mr Diener had a trailer attached to his bike, perfect for transporting the flower and our lunch. Although the day was overcast, the rain held off until well after we finished the Operation.
Mr Diener inspects the above-ground portion
of the plant.
Mr Diener did all the hard work--I just led him to the right
spot and supplied the shovel! Note the ballast rocks around the
edge of the hole.
As we were digging up the Showy, lots of people passed by. I was expecting that someone would question us, and I had printed out Mr Gangelhoff's official statement of permission, just in case someone wanted to know what we were doing. But no one seemed to pay any attention to us, except one man walking his dog, but he came by before we started digging. Mr Diener told him we were testing out some camping equipment, and the man seemed to believe us, but Mr Diener felt guilty later about making up that story.
Once we had the Showy loaded into Mr Diener's trailer, we biked all the way to Jay Cooke, where I put Mr Diener to work again, digging a hole at the designated spot (the ground was still somewhat frozen, which made his job difficult). Mr Gangelhoff met us there and watched as we put her back in the earth. I wish Kristine Hiller had been there, too, to see us add another Showy to the Park, but she was working at another State Park that day.
Mr Diener digs a hole for the Slipper's new
home, in the spot chosen by Kris Hiller.
Mr Diener and I ate our lunch in the River Inn Interpretive Center and then biked back to our cars. I let Mr Diener go on ahead of me: he's not only a much, much faster and stronger biker than I am, but I also wanted to stop along the Trail on my way back to check on some Bloodroot that I hoped would be blooming (it was!). As I moseyed back along the Trail, I wondered how many colonies of our State flower are lost to construction projects...
Bloodroot blooming along
There must be other Trail users out there who loved and admired this magnificent orchid as they biked or jogged past her. I hope at least some of them will see this post and learn that their familiar friend was not destroyed in the construction, nor was she poached, as our wild orchids sometimes are, but rather she was moved to a safer house, where she can live with relatives. And she now has the best of neighbors, ones who will protect her, according to their stated mission.
|The Munger Showy with the sun shining right through her blossoms.|
Another portrait of my friend, taken in July of 2016, the last time she bloomed on the Munger Trail.
|Photo by T. Diener. The Munger Showy sprouted in Jay Cooke State Park! |
Taken May 13, 2017
(All photos, unless otherwise indicated, were taken by S. Nygaard with an iPhone 5 or 6s.)