pitcher plants

Before you argue that a hollow log planted with pitcher plants doesn’t count as an “action” shot, consider this: these plants are predators, so by simply standing silently, they are staging an epic ambush, albeit on a small scale.

canna flower

On Thursday, I took an ASLE-sponsored field trip to Hatcher Garden here in Spartanburg, SC. A quiet-enough looking place, Hatcher is actually a testament to the transformative power of a little vision and a lot of sweat equity.

canna leaf

When Harold and Josephine Hatcher moved to Spartanburg in 1969–the year I was born–they could have sat back to enjoy a leisurely retirement. Instead, they began gardening in their single acre backyard…then began purchasing half-acre lots of trash-filled, overrun land from their neighbors’ backyards. In the time it took for me to grow from baby to college prof, the Hatchers acquired ten acres of hitherto overlooked land and transformed it into a public garden and wooded preserve.

squirrel tail

The paid and volunteer staff at Hatcher Garden now teach their neighbors how to grow flowers and vegetables, and they also educate urban and suburban children about nature and the environment. Looks can be deceiving. A pitcher plant that looks like it’s hanging out with nothing to do is actually stalking prey, and a hitherto neglected backyard might be a hidden jewel in disguise, simply waiting for a couple of caring, hard-working souls to become active.

walkers by pond