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A Seasonal Excursion

"We cannot do better in our attempt to describe the plant life of a savannah, than to take the reader on a seasonal excursion at the Burgaw bog, so that he may experience for himself, though indirectly, something of the impact such a remarkable succession of floral beauty makes upon the senses."

B. W. Wells
The Natural Gardens of North Carolina; with Keys and Descriptions of the Herbaceous Wild Flowers Found Therein

Wells remained as impressed with the visual impact of the Big Savannah throughout his career as he was on the first day he saw it. He was amazed at the march of wildflowers that occurred nearly year-round on the site, and he used vivid language along with his photographs and lantern slides to communicate this beauty, in his publications and in lectures to students and the public.

The progression of wildflowers continues on the recently discovered Wells Savannah located north of the former Big Savannah site. To document this, the NCSU Libraries and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences sent a photographer to the Wells Savannah to capture, with modern photographic equipment, some of the magic Wells described. Featured here are examples from both sets of images with the words Wells used to describe them.

"I became convinced there was no such area of equal size and perfection with over a hundred species of herbaceous wild flowers blooming in profusion from late February to middle December ...."

B. W. Wells
North Carolina Wild Flower Preservation Society Newsletter
October 1966

Yellow trumpets
Sarracenia flava L.

Wells Savannah after a burn with powerlines in background

Big Savannah, with foxtail clubmoss after a burn

Each season on the savannah starts with a burn that clears the old growth and sets the stage for the progression of wildflowers to come.

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