On a sunny Sunday that was also the first day of spring, I led a RIWPS group on a walk in the wetlands of the Great Swamp. It had rained the day before and dense fog lingered into the morning.
About Susan Marcus
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Entries by Susan Marcus
Living in Charlestown along Foster Cove, it can be overwhelming to know what from what, and I have discovered that I have lots of each! I have seen my neighbors hire landscapers to clear out “invasives” but they end up just clear-cutting everything. The invasives roar back saying “thanks for the trim!”
Every spring I look forward to seeing the whitish patches that start creeping across open grassy areas. No, it’s not the last of the snow, but a tiny, very light blue flower known by a variety of names.
One unexpected delight this September has been discovering the meadow bottle gentian, or gentiana clausa. Its deep violet flowers don’t open, remaining clusters of plump oval buds (I’ve seen as many as 22 on a single stem). Because the flowers stay closed, only “strong bees” can pollinate them.
A few years ago Charlestown Elementary School chose Outdoor Learning as a focus. The site was to include a short existing trail that ran through the woods, a large sand area and the parking lot.
On June 3, 2009, Fran Under wood and I explored a bog in northern RI. We found Arethusa (Arethusa bulbosa—State endangered) an orchid that blooms in early June.
In our wilder areas, spring bloomers open their petals to the sun, a welcome reminder of the inexorable cycle of nature, at least as long as there are wild places for them.
Spring is an exciting time to be in woodlands because a lot is happening on the forest floor – in plain sight! That’s when the herbaceous layer gets unimpeded, warming sunlight, and when I can’t wait to get into my woods every morning to see “what’s up” – fiddleheads uncurling, spring flowers emerging, mystery plants appearing, planted species surviving, and old-faithfuls spreading.
Goodbye April. In April the rain reigned and the wind blew, sometimes fiercely, while I was indoors wishing for warmer spring-like weather to head out and explore. Despite the rain, our dogs insisted that we walk twice a day. They set the pace, having their own sniffing and discovering to do.
Social distancing has definitely put a crimp in socializing. But hey! we’re wild plant people and we have friends that don’t have two legs or four legs or even any legs at all (except maybe the walking fern).
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