Sunday, November 2, 2008

The Boardwalk

As part of making the site handicapped accessible, a boardwalk was installed along the lake, from the pudding stone spring on the east to the dock on the west. Several benches along the walk provide places to view Boy Scout Island, to watch the wrens, to read a book or to eat your lunch.

I'm working with the site naturalist to add native plants along the walk so visitors can see the wildflowers in Wildflower Woods up close. There is quite a fall display. Near the spring and the seep is a large stand of rather rare pink turtlehead or Chelone obliqua speciosa. Because these plants require consistent moist soil, the loss in the wild is due to wetland habitat destruction. I'm planning to dig a few starts from the edges and add more along the walk.

Gene had a special fondness for fringed gentians. Judith Long in her biography of Gene Stratton-Porter writes:
"During her plant hunting expeditions, Gene Stratton-Porter was always on the lookout for rarities. She was especially interested in finding a fringed gentian, a dainty violet-blue wildflower that blooms in late summer."

As part of a development-related rescue effort, four fringed gentian plants were donated this fall. They settled in happily next to the turtleheads even though they were in full bloom. I am pleased that they have set seed now.

Next to the fringed gentians and across the boardwalk is a large planting of first year Cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis), which I started from seed last spring. Next fall, I hope there are large stalks of bright red flowers. I received seven great blue lobelia plants (Lobelia siphilitica) last spring as part of the construction project and planted them next to the Cardinal flower. They bloomed and reseeded this fall.

There were already lots of other fall-blooming wildflowers along the boardwalk, such as Joe-Pye weed, jewel weed, milkweed, small shade goldenrod and asters. Here are some pictures I posted last spring of wildflowers in this area. We will continue to add native plants as we have them available and to remove non-native invasive plants such as lily of the valley and vinca.

Come enjoy the boardwalk. Bring your wildflower and bird guides, binoculars and lunch. Of course, if you want to volunteer in restoring this area of Wildflower Woods, just let me know!


ann said...

Somehow a copy of Freckles got into my library and here i sit on a beautiuful Saturday morning enjoying every minute of it...that drew me to the computer in search of info on the author and then to your blog. What a beautiful job you have done and thank you for sharing your flowers you keep track of. I am at the beach in southern california now but we have a home in the Anza-Borrego Desert and you have inspired me to take photos myself. The rains have been plentiful and there should be quite a show. Thanks again, ann

Earth Girl said...

Ann, Gene would be so pleased. Her whole purpose in writing was to interest others in nature. She spent her last few years in California and was energized by all the new flora and fauna. She built a home in BelAir about 1920 to live in while building on a large tract of land on Catalina Island. I think she may have been the first to build on the island. She died in a streetcar accident before she could move to the island.

I hope you post the pictures and put a link to them so I can enjoy them also.