Spring Hike at Mammoth Cave

This past weekend I had the opportunity to travel to western Kentucky to speak about garden design at the Barren County Extension Office. The horticulture agent was able to have the event sponsored by local businesses so the event was free to the public. The master gardeners also put together a table of refreshments and even some spring floral arrangements. About 45 people came to my presentation, even though it was a nice day outside. It has rained or snowed so much the past month, it’s been hard to get outside at all.

Barren County is a little over 2 hours driving southwest from Lexington. You may be more familiar with the area since it is right by Mammoth Cave National Park. After my presentation my mom and I went there to do some spring wildflower hiking.

Even in this part of the state, I could tell the local flora was ahead of Lexington. Here are some wildflowers we saw along the way. Plants located on the south side of a slope were much further ahead than ones at a higher topography or on the shadier, cooler, north facing slope. I was happy to see bees and some butterflies and moths out pollinating.

Some of these plants can be bought at native plant nurseries and are somewhat adaptable to a regular home garden. However, please note, it is not only against the law to dig plants from a natural area- especially federal and state parks, but also very disruptive of the ecology.

Native plants have a hard enough time battling development, pollution, and invasive species as it is. Plants simply can’t run away from danger. We need to leave them so they can reproduce and keep spreading to make a pretty forest we can visit! There are plenty of flowers we can plant in our gardens that are pretty to see. Many of these woodland plants won’t even grow in a garden.

Early Saxifrage
Blue Phlox
Rue Anenome
Sessile Trillium
Early Meadow Rue- looks like chandeliers
Virginia Bluebells
Wild Ginger
Wood Poppy- Beeing pollinated
Yellow Trout Lily
A shrub I’m unsure what it is


Larkspur and Spring Beauty