Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Grazin’ in the Grass

April 24 2012
Moreau Lake State Park

Within a few days I pricked my fingers smartly
against the sharp, stiff points of some sedge coming up.
At Heywood's meadow, by the railroad,
this sedge, rising green and dense
with yellow tips above the withered clumps,
is very striking,
suggesting heat,
even a blaze, there.
   HDT's Journal, April 21, 1859

I’ll be the first to admit I don’t know the first thing about the Grasses --despite the helpfulness of Jackie’s repeated singing of
Sedges have edges…” at the slightest provocation.
 I am definitely a Lazy Botanist.

So I was happy to meet and walk today with a new friend - Jeremy, who is something of a Grass Scholar.
He is involved with Grassland restoration in the Midwest, and has approval to do some research in the Park.
He asked the folks at the Park: was there anyone who might be interested in showing him around ?
You bet !

Jackie and I were glad to take him around to certain places where we had seen plants that might be of interest to Jeremy.

First stop, the powerline easement. Despite disturbances and other manmade meddling, easements can be amazing collections of plants not found elsewhere.

Jackie and Jeremy soon started chattering in Latin plant-names,
while I followed along and said things like,
“Oh look, here’s something purple!”
which they would hunker down to examine it.

More Latin incantations then ensued.

Sorry the wood betony photo didn’t turn out,
the gods chose that moment to send a dark blustery cloud our way,
and pelt us with sleet.

“What a beautiful day!” someone said, and we all busted out laughing.

There were tiny polygalas,

and ovate violets tucked away in the profusion of mosses.

It’s certainly an odd year, with early spring flowers blooming next to things we usually don’t see until May, like these blueberries.

We then headed to Mud Pond, and showed Jeremy more of our local botanic delights.
His main interest is grasses, but he seemed to equally enjoy the beaver lodge, the tamaracks returning to life,
and the yellow violets (which we found in both downy and smooth forms.)

Jeremy found an old elm tree, and showed me some clues to identifying them.
And we wandered happily at the edge of the Senecio Plain,
where very soon, the masses of Golden Ragwort will light up even a cloudy day with glowing yellow flowers.

Alas, I had to leave for work at that point in our walk,
but there will be other times hopefully, and other places to go a-botanizing with our new acquaintance this summer.

1 comment:

  1. That was such a fun day! Thanks for capturing so well so many of its moments.