The Case of the Missing Lady Slipper

My first lady slipper

My first lady slipper

I was walking up Lloyd’s Lane when I saw something vividly yellow peaking out of the green stuff.  (We hadn’t had our 44 acres very long, and it was all pretty much green stuff then.)  We investigated and discovered a Yellow Lady Slipper bursting out of the earth.

Of the vast flora that was now in my stewardship, this gorgeous wild orchid rang all my bells.  I dedicated myself right there on that spot to be its defender and protector.  I envisioned a sea of pendulous, golden cups bobbing cheerfully in the spring breeze as it expanded under my tender ministrations.

This slipper will never bloom.

This slipper will never bloom.

It did not take long to learn that I wasn’t the only one who loved Yellow Lady Slippers on sight …  so do the deer.  By naming myself guardian of one species, I was setting myself against another.  I used to see the ethical world as shades of gray – since I’ve been trying to ethically manage 44 acres, I see it as shades of green much more brilliant, if no less confusing.

Taking sides was easy in this case.  One, single clump of Yellow Lady Slipper versus a roving, bloated herd of voracious deer who seem to be threatening every endangered plant species in their path.  Cypripedium parviflorum is apparently not endangered in Wisconsin, but it is in six other states.

Lady Slipper behind bars

Lady Slipper behind bars

Temporary solution, tomato cage and chicken wire.

Move along, Mr. White Tail!

Why don’t you pick on someone your own size –

like all that honey suckle that I haven’t even begun to tackle.

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6 replies

    • Hi Della,
      Yes, I do feel bad putting nature behind bars, but in this case, I couldn’t see a better alternative.

  1. lock it up and throw away the key!

    But seriously, it will be great to see it flower again. It is apparently very daunting to try and propagate a wild orchid. Maybe you can get some advise, but statring with some intact flowers will be a good first step.

  2. You might want to try contacting our friend, Neil, at Prairie Nurseries (Westfield, WI). I was at his house outside of Pardeeville, and he has dozens. He may have some suggestions on naturalization.

    By the way, your blog is beautiful! Keep it up!

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