osephine Hatcher dreamed of creating a place where children could come to learn and appreciate plant and animal life. To fulfill her dream, she began to plant wildflowers and native shrubs shortly after she and Harold moved to their Briarwood home. As the Hatchers acquired more land adjacent to their original tract, Josephine enriched the soil and extended her plantings. For over fifteen years, Josephine planted and cared for her beloved woodland garden until arthritis and other health problems slowed her down. Shortly before her death in 1999, Harold decided to restore the garden's wildflower area in her honor. Two granite benches sit in the woodland garden, embedded in the stone wall along the paved path in the midst of the garden. One bench is dedicated to Josephine Hatcher and the second is in honor of her daughter Alice Hatcher Henderson, who can occassionally be found gardening in her mother's garden.
Often ephemeral and delicate, the woodland wildflowers start blooming in late winter, taking advantage of the sunlight that shines through the bare trees. Some flowers bloom about a day while others can effloresce a week or longer. The garden starts timidly with the winter aconite; sometimes it can be seen rising from a late winter snowfall. The reticulated iris appears next leading a slow parade of flowers emerging out of the carpet last year's leaves, eventually exploding with a wide range of color and sizes: trout lilies, virginia bluebells, trilliums and jack-in-the pulpits (some jack-in-the-puplits will grow up to three feet tall). The wildflowers are joined by traditional spring flowers like crocuses and daffodils. Our woodland garden even has an endangered species called heartleaf-ginger (see the side bar). Below is a slide show of the progression of the woodland wildflowers bloomimg in the garden. By the time the foliage of upper canopy of trees have unfurled, allowing only filtered sunlight to reach the forest floor, most of these plants have produced fruits and died back for the year.
For the rest of the year the garden is covered with the green of undergrowth, ferns, bottlebrush buckeyes, sweetshrub and big leaf magnolia. While the main explosion of flowers occurs in the spring, a couple of wildflowers bloom in the late summer and fall.
The granite bench dedicated to Josephine Hatcher
Hexastylis arifolia (heartleaf-ginger) is an endangered species. The small almost inconspicuous flowers rest on the ground where ants can easily pollinate them.