dsc00054Since it’s snowing here and they’re forecasting frigid temperatures to follow, I thought I’d head back to Florida (virtually, that is).

Above is the mouth of Lower Suwannee River as it empties into the Gulf of Mexico. The 30-foot-tall Shell Mound located here was built of millions of 2-inch oyster shells between 1,000-3,200 years ago by indigenous peoples, though there is human evidence as far back as 7,000 years. It is believed that the mounds were sacred, as burial mounds were discovered at ends that face winter and summer solstices. The thought of countless generations of workers building this, using only baskets, is staggering.

When I arrived, the sun shining through the Spanish moss was enchanting. I only wish my photos conveyed the backlit beauty.

This tree trunk was colonized by ferns, which struck me as equally beautiful.

dsc00051Plants lay one upon another, trees, vines and moss; every ray of sunshine has a tendril reaching toward it. A startling jungle filled with birds, insects and various critters!

About Eliza Waters

Gardener, writer, photographer, naturalist
This entry was posted in Field Notes, My Photos and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

89 Responses to Flora

  1. Sending warm thoughts!

  2. Kris P says:

    A tree trunk colonized by ferns – what a magical scene! Stay warm, Eliza!

  3. Vicki says:

    Stay nice and warm, Eliza.
    I’d send you some sun, but………….I’m sure you don’t want our blistering hot summer sun, no matter how cold it is over your side of the world 🙂

  4. Jim R says:

    I know what you mean about cold and snow. We have over a foot on the ground from the past two weeks and it is -9˚ and dropping. The FL pics are welcome.

    • Eliza Waters says:

      Thanks, Jim. I expect you are experiencing the brunt of this cold. Stay safe and warm!

      • Jim R says:

        Hi Eliza. Yes, we are. Last night we had -24. Tonight they say maybe -28. It is about -22 now. But, it will be starting to rise by morning. We are headed for a high of 0. Maybe in the 40s on the weekend. Talk about a roller coaster. I am thankful for the furnace and a gas fireplace as backup. I love electric blankets. Thanks for thinking of us.

  5. Jess T. says:

    Ferns are my favorite because I can imagine the dinosaurs walking beisde them in tall forests. But who knew moss could be so enchanting as well? I love your photos!

  6. dawnbirdau says:

    Looks and sounds like a beautiful place, Eliza. Interesting to read about the middens, too!

  7. Karen Lang says:

    Beautiful 🙂

  8. Anne says:

    This looks like an interesting place to explore. The last photograph invites one to ‘go around the next corner’.

  9. sandyjwhite says:

    Spanish moss is so enchanting and different from anything in my neck of the woods! Try and stay warm.

  10. tonytomeo says:

    Epiphytes are rad. There are some odd ones there. (I wrote about a Mexican fan palm that grew in the cavity of a sycamore in a bad attempt to grow as an epiphyte. It did not end well.)

  11. Alice Pratt says:

    Very interesting about the Shell Mound….your photos are beautiful….can imagine, though, that it’s even more beautiful to be there…involving more senses…sounds, smells….love the ferns.

  12. Beautiful Eliza! Reminds me of the areas around Charleston, SC. Just what I needed on this bitter cold morning here in Ohio. Stay warm!

  13. Eliza, great pictures and I appreciate the information about the shell mounds. So many of these wonderful pieces of indigenous history are not widely known or shared…and yet I feel they are so important for us to remember and appreciate. Thank you. Wishing you plenty of inner warmth as the cold continues to encroach.

    • Eliza Waters says:

      Thank you kindly, Carrie. It is a wonder that it is only fairly recently that awareness about the value of these archeological finds has come to the forefront.

  14. neihtn2012 says:

    Very interesting post! Perhaps we should build shell mounds here also to stabilize some of our coastline, instead of just blaming it on global warming.

    • Eliza Waters says:

      Thank you, Hien. I’ve often thought we ought to look to the Nederlands for various ideas about keeping us safe from the sea. Solid fill might one idea.

      • Alice Pratt says:

        Have you ever heard of the ‘Delta Works’? I was in 6th grade, in Holland, in 1963 & learned a great deal & visited parts of the Delta Works. Saw many films about it. When you have time, there’s plenty of reading…also the ‘Zuider Zee Project.’

      • Eliza Waters says:

        Cool, thanks, Hien!

  15. Christina says:

    I’ve read that it is going to be extremely cold in your area. Keep warm physically and mentally by remembering the beautiful light in Florida.

  16. derrycats says:

    Beautiful shots…hopefully they will keep us all warm with these arctic temps the next few days!

  17. Beautiful but eerie. Naturally my thoughts turn toward a fantasy setting. Brisk in Maine, too. Except for the heating bills, I don’t mind it. I’m a Mainah. 😉 However, sure hope that very cold weather from the Midwest doesn’t make its way to New England. That’s a little too much.

    • Eliza Waters says:

      Thank you, Laurie. The Spanish moss looks right out of a movie set for Miss Haversham’s dining room, lol!
      It looks like we might squeak by with single digits for the next two nights, but day temps are doable. Phew!

  18. Yes, and a lot of those insects bite! The fern, Pleopeltis polypodioides (it’s a mouthful!), is commonly called reserection fern because it springs to life with rain, but dries and curls up in drought. It grows on rocks too.

  19. Peter Herpst says:

    Beautiful! Amazing that the shell mound was built so long ago using just baskets and remains to this day. Florida sounds like a good place to remember while you’re experiencing such cold temperatures.

    • Eliza Waters says:

      Thank you, Peter. Yes, my memories are keeping me warm!
      Unfortunately, this and many other shell mounds were raided for use in road making and fill by white settlers, who didn’t know or care about its history or significance. This one was mined by bulldozer as late as the 70s, when its value was finally recognized.

  20. Irene says:

    Thanks for the beauty and warmth of Florida. Feeling much better now. 😊

  21. Robin says:

    Beautiful and warming on this cold day. Thank you, Eliza. 🙂
    I love Spanish moss. We lived in South Carolina and Georgia for a while, and you can find it near the coast. We brought some home with us once and it lived in our bathroom for a long while.

    • Eliza Waters says:

      Thank you, Robin. Tillandsias (air plants) are hot right now with many species available commercially. They need lots of humidity so your bathroom was probably the best spot for it!

  22. Murtagh's Meadow says:

    Here along the coast you can sometimes find “shell middens” where pre historic people would have harvested and eaten shellfish.

    • Eliza Waters says:

      I imagine they are found most everywhere, but a great many were ‘harvested’ by later peoples, who probably thought they were practical ‘recyclers.’

  23. Jewels says:

    Beautiful images, Eliza! Keep warm! ❤

  24. A welcome visit this was (we’re experiencing minus double digit temps here too). What a beautiful spot!

  25. Joanna says:

    Beautiful! I remember the Spanish moss when we were down there many years ago. Would love to see it again. FL would be a great place to visit right now, but coming home might be quite a shock! 😀

  26. Chloris says:

    Wonderfully atmospheric.

  27. Maria says:

    Beautiful images. Perhaps spring is somewhere around the corner.

  28. Adele Brand says:

    I can feel the tropical essence in your photos! Keep warm out there. It’s snowy in England too now but not nearly as cold as most of the US.

  29. Joanne says:

    The Spanish moss is stunning. We call it Grandfather’s Whiskers here, and I have two small clusters in my garden. I’m having to keep the water up to it just now, to prevent it from frying in our summer heat.

    • Eliza Waters says:

      Thank you, Joanne. I like your common name for it. Our name reminds us of the Spanish conquest of the Americas. Not so PC. 😉
      Likewise, we’re hearing in the news about your searing heat. Brutal! Hope you have AC. 🙂

  30. Val Boyko says:

    Warming memories and uplifting captures. Thanks Eliza 💕

  31. ladyfi says:

    Wonderful shots!

  32. Kathy Sturr says:

    I love the entrance to Shell Mound Eliza and you captured its beauty perfectly! I believe those ferns are resurrection ferns – they will dry up and look expired but as soon as rain comes, they come back to life. They are so cool!

  33. Thank you for the wonderful escape to Florida and beautiful photos! I love the Spanish moss!🙂

  34. Wonderful post, Eliza, it got me away from our cold and snow today too! 🙂

  35. Magnificent shots, Eliza. Thank you.

  36. Marsi says:

    We just camped at Shell Mound in January (23rd-26th), perhaps our visits overlapped? The tree ferns are called resurrection ferns, and when it hasn’t rained in a week or more, they dry up, turn brown, and appear to be dead. Just a small amount of rain makes the ferns green up and spring “back to life”. One of the many wonders of the south 🙂

  37. naturebackin says:

    What a beautiful and fascinating place. Thanks for revisiting it in your blog.

  38. Wonderful and warm collection! I love the Spanish Moss and have also been drawn to photograph it when visiting family in Florida. It is so beautiful hanging from the stately Live Oaks and filtering the strong sunlight.

  39. Jet Eliot says:

    Thanks for this journey to the Lower Suwannee River, Eliza. Enjoyed the warmth and humidity of this mossy jungle venue. Even the trail is white sand.

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