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Flower power, Gettysburg style

Each year, hundreds of thousands of travelers from all over the world come to Gettysburg National Military Park in south-central Pennsylvania. Most come to learn more about the Civil War’s most famous battle, to visit such well known places as Devil’s Den, Little Round Top, Cemetery Hill, and the Peach Orchard. For many, it’s a chance to walk in their ancestor’s footsteps; to retrace the movements of a particular regiment or artillery battery. For others, Gettysburg is a place to examine world-class sculptures and monuments, and contemplate the events and people they memorialize. For some visitors, the park is a safe and scenic place to job, hike, or take a bike ride. And, for some, the charm of Gettysburg is the scenery and abundant fauna and flora, especially the many varieties of colorful flowers that dot the almost 4,000 acres and the birds that inhabit the woodlands and fields.

For Patricia Rich, it is all of the above, and more.

Over the years, I have come to appreciate Pat’s photography skills and her keen eye for detail through her frequent posts on Facebook. Perhaps her crown jewels, however, are the photos that grade her popular book, Gettysburg: The Nature of a Battlefield. A Guide to the Birds and Flowers in the Gettysburg National Military Park.

Pat divides the book into sections, with the flower images being grouped by color. She provides the scientific name of the flower and some useful general information about it. Her photography, as usual, is excellent. This will serve as a useful guide for battlefield trampers who spot a particular flower of unknown type. They can simply go to the section for the particular color, leaf through pages, and see if there is a match (there likely will be, as Pat’s book is comprehensive in its coverage).

My rather poor photographs of a few the pages of her book do not do it justice. You need to see the book in person to appreciate it. To purchase a copy, visit the publisher’s website at It is also available at many leading Gettysburg bookstores and gift shops, including the Gettysburg Heritage Center. The Civil War and More Bookstore in Mechanicsburg also stocks the book and will ship nationwide.

Patricia Rich, Gettysburg: The Nature of a Battlefield. A Guide to the Birds and Flowers in the Gettysburg National Military Park (Gettysburg Publishing, 2015). 180 pages. MSRP $22.95.