Mountain Photography - Special Places

By Bob Grytten | Apr 06, 2012
Photo by: Bob Grytten Yellow Lady Slipper (cypripedium calceolus). Corneille Bryan Native Garden, Lake Junaluska, NC

Lake Junaluska, Waynesville — Corneille Bryan Native Garden is a hidden treasure, but not in plain sight. If you like wildflowers, you’ll love this place -  follow Lakeshore Dr and turn on Stuart Circle in Lake Junaluska and drive the short distance to the Garden and park. The trails meander up the rock ravine, cross over the dips in the terrain and wind under the naturally forested oaks, black walnuts and locust. Under stories include silverberry hawthorn, sourwood, and others. This area is not what I would consider a groomed English Garden, but a natural setting of nature at work.

While the outdoor laboratory reflects nature wonders year round, spring is one of the premiere times to stroll these wonderful trails. Early bloomers include Virginia Bluebells, Yellow Wood Poppy, White Dwarf Crested Iris, Flame Azalea, and the show stopper Yellow Lady Slipper (cypripedium calceolus). The list does not stop there… and at the top of the garden, brochures are available which help in locating species. Also, ground markers are placed by the species themselves.

Named for the artist and lover of nature, Corneille Downer Bryan, as the brochure describes “Three streams of expressed hopes converged in the summer of 1989.” Bishop Monk Bryan and his family were seeking an appropriate memorial for his late wife. About the same time the Tuscola Garden Club was discussing the need to encourage interest in our native habitat. The third stream, was Maxilla Everett Evans, who had expressed a desire for some place where her lifetime collection of rare native Appalachian wildflowers and shrubs could be preserved. Many individuals contributed money and labor and with the input of the N.C Arboretum, University of Tennessee Agriculture School, Western Carolina University and the Haywood Community College, planting was begun in 1990.

Accordingly, the expressed purpose of the garden “is not to artificially contrive beauty but a native habitat for as many native NC Species of trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants as can be made happy in this limited space.” From this photographers perspective, if communicating is the purpose of making images, the little guys we photographed seemed pretty happy.

When we go, we’re reminded that primary function of the sanctuary “is to serve as a place of respite and renewal for all who draw strength from the beauty and quiet of this place.” If you are a photographer, please stay on the trails and be aware where you place your tripod legs. Many species are growing below the leaves on the ground - only resting in preparation for their part of the play, their time to bloom.

If you would like a Corneille Bryan Native Garden brochure and Tips On Photographing Wildflowers send $5 to Lens lugger World, c/o Bob Grytten Photography, PO Box 1153, Waynesville, NC 28786. All proceeds after postage goes to the Corneille Bryan Native Garden. Images shown in this article may also be purchased upon request. Other images are also available at at Portfolio section.