I spent a week doing field collecting for my dissertation. If you haven't already heard a zillion times, I study American basswood, and I received some research funding to visit the herbarium at the University of North Carolina to ponder their extensive basswood collections. I also had plans to visit several natural populations and collect samples, but this is a typically hit-or-miss activity and I didn't have much success finding trees.
The short version:
Day 1: On the road; an ironic visit to the Creation Museum in Kentucky where I had a surprisingly nice time walking their gardens
, which are free. Somehow I managed to escape the place with my rational mind intact. Phew!
A purple loosestrife cultivar. I hope they know what they're doing!
Day 2: Torrential downpour and hotel with damp carpet. Left my pillow at the hotel... grrr. Fruitless visit to a nature preserve on Pine Mountain with badly marked trails. Found one tree roadside. Very irritated. Got poison ivy. Gorgeous drive east from KY through VA, TN, and NC to the Blue Ridge Parkway, where I collected 7 or 8 trees. One of the prettiest places I've ever been; too late in the day for good photos, unfortunately.
Day 3: South Carolina, wandered Sumter National Forest, finding just about nothing. Grouchy. Visited Columbia, did not find trees an acquaintance swore would be there, but did like the city very much. 101 degrees. Got more poison ivy.
Detail from the beautiful and moving African American History Monument outside the State House, Columbia, SC; more here
Day 4: Southern North Carolina Piedmont. Pretty. No basswoods. Attracted some concern from a pair of women in their Sunday best who were driving home from the Baptist church down the road.
Days 5 and 6: UNC campus in Chapel Hill. Many hours in the herbarium photographing hundreds of samples. Also collected in the Coker Arboretum and wandered campus a bit. Very nice place but I had a tendency to get lost. Hills and ravines don't lend themselves to a street grid.
Cool variegated redbud at the Arboretum; my herbarium workspace. Other NC pics here
Day 7: West Virginia, Kanawah State Forest south of Charleston. Hey, actual trees! Woo! Then treated myself to lunch at Taco Bell (YUM), and headed home, getting back around 9. So good to be back with hubby, dog, house, garden, and bed! I miss my pillow though.