DuPont Wildflowers, Waterfalls Inspire Book
Last updated 7/19/2017 at 8:51pm
It wasn't just the colors, shapes and diversity of the many wildflowers blossoming in the DuPont State Recreational Forest that inspired Rosemarie Knoll's book, "Wildflowers and Waterfalls of DuPont State Forest," it was also the hunt.
"It's hard to say why I find wildflowers fascinating," Knoll said, "but I can spend hours in the forest searching, identifying and documenting them."
Knoll isn't a formally trained botanist, and in her previous life she worked in the health insurance industry as a project manager and strategic consultant.
After retiring, she said she committed to completing a book of local wildflowers in DuPont Forest.
She and her dog, Charlie, spent from March to October Hiking DuPont, extensively, to the point where Charlie knew when to patiently sit and wait when Knoll expressed interest in a particular flower.
"When he heard me say, 'Whoa, wait a minute,' he knew I had found another flower, so he would have a seat," Knoll said.
Knoll said she had been visiting and Hiking DuPont for several years when she and her husband, Jeff, decided to move to Penrose five years ago from Jacksonville, Fla., where she worked with the Florida trail system, learning plants in the area.
"When I came up here I had to start over again," Knoll said. "The plants are so different, I think because of the heat down there. There is just so much more of a variety up here, and there are still some I probably haven't seen because they only bloom for a week, and if you aren't out there, you miss them."
Knoll and her friend Ginny Steiger, also of Penrose, who gave Knoll the idea to write the book, would hike the forest using a copy of "Great Smoky Mountain Wildflowers: When and Where to Find Them" as their guide to identifying wildflowers.
"But there wasn't a local guide," Knoll said. "We always thought we'd love to do the same thing with a book that identifies wildflowers specific to DuPont."
So, what started as a log of her own local wildflower sightings bloomed into the publication of a book designed to help hikers along in their own hunt for wildflowers.
"I felt very strongly about creating a book that helped people to understand what's in the forest, and there are a lot more plants than I ever imagined when I started out," said Knoll. "I think the book was a way for me to share the knowledge and to show people what a resource DuPont is."
It's been a journey, Knoll said, learning the process of publication, and watching an idea become a reality. She said she taught herself Adobe InDesign, a digital publication tool for the design of the book, as well as Adobe Photoshop, and formed her own publishing company, High Falls Publishing.
"I think my years as a project manager helped me move through the process, because the hardest thing about doing something new like this is to not get bogged down by the details," Knoll said, "and I knew, if other people could do it, then I could do it."
The book is divided into color-coded seasons, with 150 different kinds of wildflowers.
"The color is in the outer corner of the page, so if it's a pink flower and it's summer, you go to the pink section, and hopefully, you should be able to find the flower," Knoll said. "I tried to make it as easy as possible."
At the bottom of the page there is a place for notes, and she said the book is meant to be "tossed" in a backpack for frequent use during Hiking.
In addition to a close-up photograph of the flower taken by Knoll, there is a description, including height, number of petals, when it blooms, what the leaves look like and location of the trail in the forest where the flower was found.
The book also includes pictures and descriptions of DuPont's waterfalls as well as a map.
Knoll, a member of Friends of DuPont Forest, an organization that works to protect and improve the 10,400-acre forest in Transylvania and Henderson counties, met with the president of the organization, Bev Parlier, to also proof the book, as well as the executive director, Sara Landry.
"DuPont is an amazing natural resource that needs to be preserved, and one of the things that drew me to this area years ago is the land features and plant features that continually amaze me," Knoll said. "I think that was the driving force behind my work."
Knoll said her next book will be photos and descriptions of the wildflowers in Pisgah Forest and the Blue Ridge Parkway
"Wildflowers and Waterfalls of DuPont State Forest" can be found at Highland Books on North Broad St. in College Plaza, Changes in Altitude on Greenville Highway in Cedar Mountain, the Hendersonville Visitor's Center and the Asheville Visitor's Center, as well as Knoll's website, http://www.highfallspublishing.com.