The young boy only partially understood Mother Nature’s basic directives – that if you plant seed in the earth, it tends to produce something. Every afternoon the boy dug up the ground where he had planted potato seeds to inspect the progress of what he was hoping to reap. And every afternoon – day after day – it was nothing, not a sprout, not a green leaf, not a root. Nada.
The boy failed. He neglected the first principle: Leave it alone! Don’t interrupt. Let nature do its work. Let nature perform upon its scenic canvas.
While we at The Park on Main®, the luxury hotel on the vast range of Southern Appalachian Mountains, certainly sympathize with the poor boy’s lack of botanical skills, we know that the slow-rising beauty of living landscape requires from us patience, attention, focus and a certain basic grasp of the Earth sciences. It also requires a settled appreciation of how nature produces its works of art.
Botany – and its offspring, gardening – is a matter of embracing the rhythms of the Earth; to grasp the nuances of this wild and rugged symphony involves acquiring an ongoing education and adoration for nature’s secret surprises.
During your stay at The Park on Main®, make your first stop the Highlands Biological Station, which is administered by Western Carolina University. Its mission is “to foster education and research focused on the rich natural heritage of the Highlands Plateau, while preserving and celebrating the integrity of the ‘biological crown of the southern Appalachian Mountains.’”
The Biological Station Includes a Laboratory, a Nature Center and a Botanical Garden
Founded in 1927, the nature center offers exhibits and programs on the Southern Appalachian region’s biodiversity. Programs target all ages and include special events, tours and children’s nature camps. Young campers explore the outdoors and learn about plants and animals on field trips into the Nantahala National Forest.
Established in 1962, the Highlands Botanical Garden offers a demonstration garden displaying the area’s diverse flora. Nearly 500 species of mosses, ferns, wildflowers, shrubs and trees grow in the forest, wetlands and old-growth plant communities that are connected by trails and boardwalks, according to www.highlandsbiological.org. Native Azaleas, Plants of the Cherokee, Mosses and Liverworts, Wildflower Meadow, Butterfly-pollinated and Rock Outcrop species are in display on the garden. The garden is free and open to the public year-round from sunrise and sunset.
This – as we at The Park on Main® have long known – is what makes Highlands, North Carolina the place to discover the rosy side of nature’s temperament. Delving deep into the details of how the beautiful outdoors works in union with its many diverse elements leaves you with a greater appreciation for life and a more profound depth of understanding the foundation of the sciences.
The Highlands Biological Station provides that opportunity. Come and explore today.
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