“There is that in the glance of a flower which may at times control the greatest of creation’s braggart lords.”
Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve is a nature preserve, botanical garden, and accredited museum located just outside of New Hope, PA, that showcases an extraordinary diversity of plants native to Pennsylvania and the Delaware Valley region. The Preserve offers several miles of pleasant walking trails.
How did the preserve come to be? At a chance meeting in a wooded area on state park land in Bucks County, two conservation-minded people struck up a conversation, sharing their mutual appreciation for the peaceful, natural setting that surrounded them. It was autumn, and richly colored wildflowers shone against a backdrop of trees cloaked in brilliant fall hues.
Inspired by the quiet beauty of the woods and the tranquil creek flowing nearby, they imagined a sanctuary for Pennsylvania native plants with nature trails winding through wildflower plantings, a place where visitors could enjoy this natural splendor year-round. Both firmly believed that this area was far too beautiful to be turned into the ordinary picnic grounds proposed for the site.
Native plants are those plants that grew in a defined region prior to European settlement. In the Delaware River Valley region, where Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve is located, Europeans settled here in the 1600’s. Native plants have evolved over thousands of years to be adapted to this area and to the other living creatures around them. Of the approximately 2,000 species native to Pennsylvania, the Preserve is home to nearly 800 of them. More than 80 of these species are rare, threatened or endangered native plants designated as Plants of Special Concern in Pennsylvania.
Non-native plants are those plants that were brought to the area by human activity, whether accidentally or purposefully. Throughout the settlement of our region, people brought the seeds of plants from their homelands, some of which have since spread into the wild, such as garlic mustard which we recently spent a Saturday pulling out from along the C&O Canal. Yes, we saw garlic mustard in the preserve.
Know before you go: You’ll see a selection of native wildflowers, trees, shrubs and vines in bloom at the Preserve from early spring through fall. To enjoy the most abundant show of what many visitors think of as the “wow!” wildflower show, plan your visit for mid-April through early June.
Getting there: 1635 River Rd, New Hope, PA 18938
Hours: Open daily in April, May, and June, 9 am – 5 pm. Guided walks daily at 2 pm.
Dogs: Not welcomed in the preserve.