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Walk on the wild side

Lincoln and I took a long walk last Sunday. River Road is always beautiful but this time of year it is stunning.

At Easter, most of our landscapes are bursting with spring color – multi-colored azaleas, loropetalum and Indian hawthorn. These are all wonderful spring bloomers, but it was the native plants on River Road that got my attention.

The fresh new foliage of the hardwood trees was a study in shades of green. Beech, white oak, hickory and maple — a contrast of color and texture. All of their leaves just expanding fresh and new.

I was excited to find several of my favorite native shrubs — Oakleaf hydrangea, Florida anise and witch hazel. The Florida anise was in full bloom with its dark red flowers. The oakleaf hydrangea and witch hazel, fully leafed.

Maybe the sweetest surprise was the herbaceous perennials. May apple, trillium and native ferns were abundant. As Aldo Leopold said, “There are some who can live without wild things and some who cannot.”  I am sure that I am one who cannot.

Rebecca Bates is an MSU Extension-Lincoln County agent, and can be reached at 601-835-3460 or by e-mail at rebecca.bates@msstate.edu.