West Virginia Gardens
West Virginia Gardens – This state left the confines of Virginia because the residents had a different point of view. Now we see that this state has developed into a thriving, coal producing, friendly, hard-working state with various landscapes and landmarks all of their own. The botanical gardens are beautiful. Let’s see what they have to offer…
West Virginia Botanic Garden: Admission to the Garden is free, but donations are welcome. Donations can be made on-site at the kiosk near the lower parking lot, or online. The West Virginia Botanic Garden at Tibbs Run Preserve is a non-profit organization. Help them continue to provide programs and free access to the community. In 2017, the Board of Directors voted to add the phrase “at Tibbs Run Preserve” to the Garden’s name. This is significant for several reasons. Almost half of the Garden’s property is comprised of a mixed deciduous, hemlock and rhododendron forest. Trees as old as 250 years can be found growing here. As many of you know, Hemlocks are under threat from the hemlock woolly adelgid, an introduced insect that has laid waste to most northern Hemlock forests. They have a very significant and healthy population of the species and have chosen to treat them and will continue. The Tibbs Run Preserve is home to a tremendous diversity of fauna and plants. Walking in this forest is a special experience. You will always find something new to discover and explore in Morgantown.
Brooks Memorial Arboretum: Located in the 10,100-acre Watonga State Park, this arboretum covers the drainage of Two-Mile Run, has trails up the hollow and on both ridges surrounding it. It contains mature yellow poplars, Ohio buckeyes, cottonwoods, and other native species. The Arboretum was established in the 1930s as an “Outdoor Classroom” by the Civilian Conservation Corps. It was dedicated to Fred Brooks, a native of French Creek in Upshur County, who wrote many books about nature. Brooks came from a family who loved the outdoors, and he worked for the Department of Agriculture from 1911 to 1932..Stay in Hillsboro to enjoy this Arboretum and Outdoor Classroom.
Core Arboretum: This 91-acre arboretum is owned by West Virginia University. It is open to the public daily without charge. The Arboretum’s history began in 1948 when the University acquired its site. Professor Earl Lemley Core (1902-1984), chairman of the Biology Department, then convinced President Irvin Stewart to set the property aside for the study of biology and botany. In 1975 the Arboretum was named in Core’s honor.
The Arboretum is now managed by the WVU Department of Biology and consists of mostly old-growth forest on steep hillside and Monongahela River flood plain. It includes densely wooded areas with 3.5 miles of walking trails, as well as 3 acres of lawn planted with specimen trees. The Arboretum has a variety of natural habitats in which several hundred species of native WV trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants may be found. Some of the large trees are likely over 200 years old. The Arboretum is well known as a superb site to see spring ephemeral wildflowers from late March to early May. Varied habitats and riverside location also make the area an excellent site to observe birds and animals. Visit the University in in Morgantown.
Sunshine Farm and Gardens: This is a 60-acre Arboretum, Botanic Garden, garden center, retail and wholesale nursery located at 3,650 feet altitude. The public is welcome to tour the gardens with prior reservation. Reservations can be made by calling 304-497-2208. The gardens contain over 10,000 different varieties of perennials, bulbs, trees, and shrubs. One of the main focuses is a breeding program, breeding new varieties in the genus Helleborus, with 6 acres of the nursery devoted to more than 168,000 hellebores. The other main focus is on the cultivation and propagation of east coast native plants with several acres dedicated to woodland perennials and wildflowers in Renick.
Cranberry Glades— Also known simply as The Glades—are a cluster of five small bogs in Southwestern West Virginia. This area, high in the Allegheny Mountains at about 3,400 feet, is protected as the Cranberry Glades Botanical Area, part of the Monongahela National Forest. This site is the headwaters of the Cranberry River, a popular trout stream, and is adjacent to the nearly 50,000-acre Cranberry Wilderness. The Glades are a 750-acre grouping of peat bogs. The gladed land is highly acidic and supports plants commonly found at higher latitudes, including cranberries, moss, skunk cabbage, and two carnivorous plants. The Glades serve as the southernmost home of many of the plant species found there. The Glades have been the subject of much scientific study, especially during the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s. Professor Maurice Brooks conducted several studies in the 1930s and in 1945. The work of other scientists followed. In 1974, the Cranberry Glades Botanical Area was designated a National Natural Landmark. The natural history of the Glades has been traced back at least 12,000 years. Apparently, a forest of conifer-northern hardwoods replaced tundra with the end of the last Ice Age. Over time the Glades formed into what they are today. Now, most of the bog is underlain by peat that is up to 10 feet thick. Since a limestone source in the surrounding rocks is indicated, an ample source appears to be present in the underlying Hinton Formation, a circumstance that also has significant implications for the Glades’ flora. The area is not entirely a glade, but a bog or wetland covered with all sorts of decaying vegetation. The peat and decaying organic matter is more than ten feet thick under the dense plant cover. The ground is not as much as quicksand or swampy, but spongy. It is in a high valley, about 3,300 to 3,400 feet above sea level, surrounded by the Cranberry, Kennison, and Black Mountains. Five separate glades were identified and named in 1911. The water from the Glades drains to form the headwaters of the Cranberry River, a popular trout stream joined by the Yew and Charles Creeks. Flora included are many of the plants that resemble those in the northern region of North America. They are descendants of seeds that took root. Trees in the Glades floodplain, occur in the “bog forest” habitat, which is composed primarily of a mixture of red spruce, eastern (or Canada) hemlock, yellow birch and red maple. The Glades shrub layer, unlike the tree layer, is relatively species-rich. This is a consequence of the widespread presence of low- to medium-height woody plants throughout. Many herbs with primarily northern distributions occur here, including oak fern and pod grass, Jacob’s ladder is at its southernmost location. Grasses and sedges are found here, wild lilies, and orchids also grow here. Many animals that live in the Glades are at their southernmost breeding grounds, including birds, deer, black bear, and beavers. Visit Cranberry Glades in Mill Point
TravelKatz is looking forward to helping you and yours have a special vacation in West Virginia where you will get to see beautiful gardens. Just call us at 352-277-7300 or chat at www.travelkatz.com.