Home of the Practically Perfect Pink Phlox and other native plants for pollinators

Monday, June 23, 2008

Flora, Fauna and Fun on Folly





Being a gardener who really loves plants, it is hoped by my friends that I'll to be able to identify any and all plants that are growing anywhere! Last week on Folly beach, more often than this gardener cares to admit, I was unable to identify most of the plants! My refrain for the week went something like this: "No, I don't know that flower. No, I don't know that shrub. No, I don't know that tree. No, no and no!" To protect my ego, I began to say: "I don't know tropical or sub-tropical plants." Then, I started saying: "Next year, let's get a South Carolina plant guide." I'll be sure to study the book before I go...I wouldn't want to disappoint anyone!

Isn't it an understatement to say it's a different kind of plant environment at the beach! Hot, humid and alternating between the extremes of dry and wet. Oh, yeah, there's that sand, too! But the flora is rich...even if you can't identify it! There was a surprising amount of familiar plants... Blanket Flower, Smilax, Yaupon Holly, Live Oaks, Magnolias, Sycamores, American Holly...the list goes on!

This was easily identified as a primrose...you can't know how exciting it was to be able to identify a beach plant!This cute sundrop was growing along the dunes at Folly... to identify which primrose took a trip on the google magic carpet! There is a terrific site if you want to identify plants growing on Folly Beach....it helped me! It's Oenothera humifusa!

The Atlantic Ocean looks particularly good in this photo.
When the surf was calm the dolphins would be out...naturalists on the Eco Kayak tour said that they don't surface when it's too choppy...the water gets in their air hole. I did not make the tour this time ...but will next year! Here is some of our party on the Eco-tour!



My favorite time to be on the beach is early in the mornings ...there is always the hope that the perfect shell will be waiting to be found.
Every morning looked like this!


Really it did...later in the day it looked like this!
It was an absolutely perfect week of great temperatures and sunny days. Is that laying it on too thick!

This is the view from our boardwalk toward the pier at Folly.
We had an incredible storm that sat on top of us like a big gray bowl...we had drinks by candle light that night! It's not unusual to lose power during a storm.
The clouds were spectacular; this is looking down the beach ...Our neighbor to the left, hollered over to us that the clouds looked upside down.

What do you think? Upside down? When it started to rain and the wind began howling we all ran for cover! It poured, the rain blew sideways and the wind was quite strong...we lost power and part of the siding on the house. As quickly as it arrived...it was over! Taking away some heat, humidity and AC in the house!

Then the island settled down and we had this beautiful view to enjoy.





One of my favorite views is from our boardwalk onto the sand dune. Dunes are incredible...they support life, protect the coast and are just fascinating to observe. They are all about wind and movement.


Last year a loggerhead turtle laid her eggs there. We found some folks digging in our dune and rushed out to ask what they were doing. It turns out that they walk the beaches looking for tracks... If they find evidence of a nest they dig down to check for eggs...sometimes they move them to higher ground...above the high tide marker so the baby turtles won't drown. They mark them so when it's time for the eggs to hatch they can go down to the beach. They ask that people keep their lights off so the baby turtles will follow the moon to the surf. Very few actually survive to return to the beaches where they were born to lay their eggs... but they still do. It's really exciting to think about the journey they make to return to Folly Beach each year.

We hoped we could see a turtle on the beach this year...but none of us stayed up late enough to wander out there and look. These are Ms. Loggerheads tracks as she left the beach this year...wasn't that kind of her to leave that note;-) She dug her nest and laid her eggs, just a few dunes away from our house earlier this month. If you want to know more about the Folly Beach Turtle Watch Program visit them here.



Fabulous Fauna:

Here we are, the five fabulous women on the trip! There were 9 folks in total...4 couples and a single friend. We are all excellent friends. As you can see, it's very windy. What you can't see is the dangerous surf. There is absolutely no swimming allowed.

We drove to the end of the island and hiked to see this lighthouse. Was it worth standing in gale force winds? We thought so!

We're already talking about next year's trip.

Gail

55 comments:

  1. Gail ... you have made me so terribly home sick for the sea on the edge of Cape Breton Island .. Louisbourg, N.S.
    Your pictures were beautiful of the sundrop, the shells, the beach .. sunrise, horizons .. it alll made me ache for the sea on this gray wet Ontario morning .
    Big sigh !
    Joy

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  2. How nice of you to take us all on vacation with you! I felt like I was right there with all those beautiful photos. Actually, it looked exactly like our beach trip to Galveston last summer...funny isn't it, how a beach really is a beach wherever you go. I love the flora and fauna too -- it's all so tropical. Thanks for sharing!

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  3. joy,

    Sorry....I poured it on too thick! We could use your rain and you could use our sun, isn't it like that?

    Gail

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  4. diana,

    It was a fun trip and I surely don't want it to be over, sigh...back to hot days with no rain and dragging the hose around.

    Yes, sandy beaches are so much the same...I would love to see the black sand beaches and the dunes in Hawaii that moan or make some interesting noises!

    Gail

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  5. This looks like such a great place to spend a vacation. There is something about the ocean that just fascinates me; I could sit on the beach and just gaze out for hours. Great photos, especially the sunrise from yesterday. Hope you had a wonderful time!

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  6. How absolutely wonderful Gail.
    Makes me realize how much I miss the sea. The pictures make you feel you are there. No problem with hot and humid then, as you had feared.

    Laundry all done?

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  7. Everyone seems to be going to S.C. for their beach vacations. We usually go to Florida (like everyone else in Alabama) but maybe I should check out S.C. - it looks like you had a great time.

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  8. rose,

    It is a great place to vacation especially with a good group of people. You would have been happy with us...we gazed at the ocean a good deal of the time! I had a relaxing time...which is what I needed.

    Gail

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  9. joco,

    Even with the big storms...we had low humidity and temps...We usually have a day trip into Charleston,which is always humid and hot in the summers was pleasant. Everyone was totally surprised.

    It was a great vacation....good time with friends, good food and a new dress (I did shop).

    Gail

    Gail

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  10. Phillip,

    I love Orange Beach in the off season! Do you ever go there? The beaches are pretty when no one else is there! It's a long drive for us either place we go...9 or 10 hours. We honeymooned in Charleston so I have lots of special memories.

    Gail

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  11. Welcome back from your vacation Gail! It looks like you had a great time. Don't worry about not being able to identify plants, after all there are millions of them out there! You sunrise photo on the beach is great. We'll have to vacation there sometime when the kids are a bit older. The oldest one would love it now. She loves sandboxes and water of course!

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  12. Looks like you had an awesome time and it sure brings memories to me of the Atlantic Ocean. I think it looks great all the time. The clouds really do look upside down.

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  13. What serene photos of sunrise and sunset! The wind looks a bit challenging but who cares about hair days when you are on vacation. It is great that you have such good friends in your life!

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  14. Gail, I'm sitting here sighing, wishing I could experience your beach for myself. It sounds like an absolutely wonderful trip!

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  15. Dave,

    I really don't worry about identifying them...it's a good excuse to buy a garden book! It was just so funny to say No, I don't know them all the time and watch the reactions!
    There were dozens of babies at the beach...little ones, I worried that the sun was so strong. Boy the equipment that parents have now...'BMW' strollers!

    Gail

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  16. Tina,

    I thought they looked interestingly odd myself...it was an incredible storm. There was another one that was miles off shore and put on a beautiful lightening display all night. It was perfectly clear on Folly but out over the ocean it was the Fourth of July.

    Gail

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  17. layanee,

    Some days the photographer is lucky! The wind was so strong we could have fallen into it and still been standing up! All together a great vacation. How was your trip to PA and the gardens?

    Gail

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  18. Cindy,

    Do you go to the Gulf beaches? Are they nice?

    It was a good time and I will be sighing along with you as I slip back into Nashville mentality and rainless weather. Oh those dragging the hoses around moments!

    Gail

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  19. Wow, what a great vacation shared amongst great friends. Wonderful.
    The clouds do look upside down but for sure the vacation was rightside up!!!

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  20. jean,

    You said it so well..it was indeed a right-side up vacation!

    Gail

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  21. Gail, I only go to Galveston maybe once a year, at best. I spent a lot of time there up till my teens. The beaches aren't as pretty as those you showed us and the Gulf waters are brown as often as not. I still love it, tho. I may have to take myself on a day trip there soon.

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  22. Cindy,


    If just for a walk along the shores and to hear the water...there is something so powerful and compelling about BIG Water!

    Gail

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  23. We usually go to Charleston but have dropped by Folly to see the beach but the Saint is not much into the beach since spending 4 years in Hawaii... I reckon I will never see Hawaii. LOL...

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  24. My favorite thing to do in Hawaii is get up early, go to market for a cup of coffee and then walk Kailua Beach for an hour or two. Heaven.

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  25. Thick or not, it looks like a wonderful place to see. I have read about the turtles and efforts to help save the nests. It would be a shame to lose such incredible beings. Your skies were beautiful and captures the feeling of beach life. Thanks for sharing your vacation. I feel very refreshed.

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  26. Hi Gail, I loved reliving your beach vacation with you. Folly looks wonderful, but no swimming? That won't fly with our clan. Was it just that week, or is it all the time? We have friends with a place not far from there in Kiawah Island that we have visited many times. The beaches look similar to your photos, and sea turtles leaves their flipper prints in the sand also. We do love the beach. Going with adults would be very different for us, but the kids make it fun and crazy. We will try and coordinate next year so we can meet for dinner at least.
    Frances

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  27. Wow, those cloud pictures are spectacular. So glad that you had fun.

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  28. skeeter,

    One of our party hates the beech and stayed inside cooking for us! Let's see he made Shrimp Ettouffe and Sushi! His wife is a lucky woman. I feel very fortunate that my husband...who does not like to repeat visits to places consents to go back there...Hawaii has black sand beaches...I want to go, too!

    What do you do in Charleston? Favorite restaurants?

    Gail

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  29. cindy,

    You will make us all jealous! Take us with you!

    Gail

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  30. Beckie,

    Thank you for coming along with me and not minding my need to talk about it and show photos ;->

    Once when we were in Florida taking a late night stroll on the beach with our then 10 yr old son...we came upon a turtle laying her eggs...It was so very exciting for all of us! One of those sweet memories for a family. Like running through the sprinkler in a tee shirt on a very hot day, memories that you never forget and treasure.

    Gail

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  31. Beckie,

    Your post about the sprinkler was such a lovely post...I know you knew that I was referencing that! But others might not..

    Gail

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  32. You took some great photos. It all looks so idyllic.

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  33. We always end up at "Bubba Gumps" and sit outside and enjoy all the passer bys... "Hymans" has better food though. "Gillians" is good but a bit difficult to find being off the beaten path out of town a bit... We have done all the tourist stuff, aquarium, battle ships, carriage ride, etc. The Harbor boat ride was very full of info. My favorite thing to do is to stroll around the back streets and check out the beautiful homes and wonderful gardens!

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  34. MMD,

    Well for the most part it was idyllic, but you have to consider there weren't any children under the age of 28 with us! Of course children are wonderful...we just don't have any babies in this group.

    I think I got some good shots and the weather helped by giving me sunrises and fabulous clouds.

    Gail

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  35. vertie,

    It was a blast...the kind of vacation you and your husband would love! Seriously... kayaking, walking the beaches, eating good food, talking about plants and good friends!

    gail

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  36. skeeter,

    We haven't been to either place...we went to a place called SNOB Slightly North Of Board...great lump crab cakes.

    We also peak over the gates into the yards! Some wonderful gardens even in summer.

    Gail

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  37. Francis,

    No pool! But lots of swimming in the ocean....this was an adult only trip and we could do what we wanted! SNOB was as always a great meal! Next year we can meet some place in Charleston.

    Gail

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  38. Hi Gail, looks like you had quite the trip there! Yep, next time take a field guide with you (we have lots of ones on bugs, weeds and native flowers), they can come in handy. Oh, and they make you look even more erudite! :-)

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  39. Are those mammatus clouds? They look amazing. Your vacation sounds so relaxing. Good old South Carolina beaches---how I miss them!

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  40. What gorgeous pictures! Makes me feel like i'm at the beach. I'm so glad you've had fun!

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  41. Your photos tell a wonderful story! The sky shots are amazingly beautiful. I read a book that centered around loggerhead turtles (The Beach House by Mary Alice Monroe) -- you'd enjoy it, I think, and her writing is lyrical.

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  42. IVG,

    We had a big time! Yes the field guide goes on the list! The Erudite Gardener...a nice blog name!

    Gail

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  43. Lisa,

    Different from the California beaches!
    The waves are smaller, really not much surf but there are surfers anyway!

    Gail

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  44. Pam,

    Now that I have added mammatus to my vocabulary I really will be erudite!

    Gail

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  45. DP, It was a joy filled visit and I am not just saying that...I needed the rest and change of pace....were will you and Cam go for vacation?

    Gail

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  46. Nancy,

    I read a review of the story when I got back! It does sound like a sweet story and with Turtle watchers, too!
    I am honored that you liked my cloud shots! Digital rules!

    Gail

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  47. A great vacation for you. You needed it more than you know. Great pics really enjoyed them. Yes, the big water is enticing, enjoyable & a mystery. It surely calms a person down & gives them a chance to think, meditate & renew.
    Glad you had fun.

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  48. lola,

    You said it so much better then I!
    That water is powerful, it must be the movement or as you say the mystery...I don't know if I mentioned how incredible the full moon was!

    Gail

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  49. It looks like you had a great trip Gail! Your photos are gorgeous. I love oceanfront vacations - so relaxing, so beautiful. Good company, beautiful surroundings, so much to enjoy. I'm glad you had such a wonderful, relaxing vacation.

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  50. gardengirl,

    Linda, I really needed a vacation...and am terribly appreciative of everyone's enjoyment of the post and my celebration! What a wonderful group of folks you all are!

    gail

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  51. Gail, What beautiful photos of your vacation. The beach is one of my very favorite places in the whole world... everything about it makes my soul come alive. It is one place I feel at home and usually actually know the names of plants but then again I've lived near the beach all my life.

    Thanks for sharing your trip with us... it looks like it was not only great weather and wonderful scenery but good company.
    Meems @Hoe&Shovel

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  52. About 20 years ago I needed to strike out on my own and left familiar zip codes, and moved to SC. I found a $300/mo apt. on Folly Beach and a job on Seabrook. It was a great uber-laid back place to live, but hurricanes have a way of changing things. Thanks for sharing your pictures and for helping me recall fond memories.

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  53. meems,

    I am glad you could come along and enjoy the after photos...there is indeed something about the beach that reaches in and touches our souls...maybe it's our earliest memories of floating in water before we burst forth into the world....and yes, the good friends, good food and a few adventures were wonderful.

    here's a thought! Next time I will take my phone, snap a few photos and email them to you for iding the unknown beach plants!

    Gail

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  54. les,

    Welcome to clay and limestone...I hopped over to your blog and enjoyed it immensely! Beautiful photo of the marshes!

    and, it is a pleasure to share my memories and evoke yours! What an adventure it sounds and I know there must be more to the hurricane story!

    Gail

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Let us be grateful to people who make us happy;
they are the charming gardeners
who make our souls blossom.


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