I was 24 pages into Geraldine Watson’s book, Reflections on the Neches: A Naturalist’s Odyssey along the Big Thicket’s Snow River, when I was motivated by both the book and the first beautiful weather of the year to visit the Geraldine Watson Rare Plant Preserve. The day became one of the most magical I have experienced in The Thicket.
In fact, within moments of arriving I had ideas of writing an article on the serenely beautiful flora and, given what I had gleaned of Mrs. Watson from her book, I was eager to learn about the dynamic woman responsible for it. My research yielded this January 2, 2018 article by Sophia Dembling: “How a Rare Native Plant Preserve Sustains One Texan Woman’s Legacy- The rise of an unlikely naturalist and fierce preservationist.” The article is well written and captures Geraldine Watson in the manner I might have. Why reinvent the wheel?
Dembling uses words such as “enchanting” and “a botanical wonderland” to describe what I saw and felt during my visit. It is a fool who would ever mistake whimsy for weakness because the preserve is a fairy forest complete with stone cottage built solely by Watson.
I plan to return to the Watson Preserve when I finish her book. I want to look upon her forest and cottage with a deeper understanding of who she was and what she fought so hard to protect- I have a feeling the experience will be even more fulfilling.
Visit the preserve! See if you, too, feel as though you have stepped into a Dr. Seuss book!
Geraldine Watson Rare Native Plant Preserve is located at 527 Co Rd 4777, Warren, TX 77664
Other readings on Geraldine Watson and her Rare Native Plant Preserve:
“Watson Rare Native Plant Preserve” by Le’Anne Alexander Jun 29, 2018
“Watson Rare Native Plant Preserve” – Main site
“Piney Woods Conservationist Devotes Life to Cause” by Jane McBride April 18, 2009