Tuesday, April 11, 2006

A Perfect Spring Day!

It was a glorious spring day here. It started slow, but, boy oh boy it turned out to be just great.

Tina and I decided today was the day to search for some Dutchmen's Breeches. A friend had clued us in on a place where they were growing wild and not protected by law so we though perhaps we could bring some home.

The weather was perfect and after attending to a few other errands, we started out. We went almost right to the spot and found our treasure trove. Neither of us had really seen them growing in the wild - at least not in such profusion. We dug a few and stashed them in the back of the car.

Our appetites were whetted and we continued on to a wildlife preserve near Safe Harbor called Shenk's Ferry. We had both heard of this place, but never visited.

We had heard tales of the amazing varieties of wild flowers that grow there and we had also been warned to only visit on a weekday because weekends were very crowded - which I would think would spoil the ambience!

As we drove down the bumpy dirt road leading to the walking path, we rounded a bend and Tina yelled, "Stop the car!" I barely had the car stopped when she jumped out and ran to a meadow like area that happened to be polluted with trilliums! Now, you have to understand that Tina has been attempting - unsuccessfully until this year - to plant trilliums in various places. She was ecstatic! They were interspersed with Dutchmen's breeches, so it was a great find.

I slowly drove the car along the road as she pranced and took picture after picture. As I rounded the next curve, the meadow rose up to become a steep hill, which was covered with Virginia Bluebells.

Just last week, I had purchased a plant of Bluebells at the Pa Herb Festival because I thought they were so beautiful and would make a wonderful addition to the native plants in our own woods. To see them in such numbers was almost overwhelming and we hadn't even officially entered the preserve yet!

I'll leave the rest of the reporting on plants to Tina, but I did find some interesting sights that caught my eye. For instance, the big hole in this tree trunk provided a perfect planter for some Dutchmen's Breeches and you can see what spilled out all around the base of the tree.

So many lovely sights and amazingly, the flowers started to become commonplace!

The path was nice and wide and well kept, on the side of a very steep hill, but creeping right to the edge was an astoundingly wild area. The path dropped off to the right steeply to a nice sized stream and some places it gurgled and splashed providing a pleasant accompaniment to our walk.

At a fork in the trail, this structure rose up from the side toward the stream. It completed the feeling of being in a faraway place. It reminded me of the ruins of a castle. I was waiting for a fairy or leprechaun to appear at any moment!

The whole experience was like something out of time. In fact at some point, we decided we had better turn around and get back to the car.

We have decided that the area will be changing almost daily and that we must get back hopefully once a week to document all the wonderful things there.

On the way back, the sun was shining ina different direction and so the flowers were not as evident, but it did seem that more had come into bloom while we were walking! We had only seen one Trout Lily on the way in, but a number more were to be seen on the way out.

This gnarled mass of roots was covered with a variety of flowers, but the real mystery was what might be living in the hollows!

We drove out of the preserve and rejoined the rest of the world, realizing we were hungry and thirsty, things we hadn't even thought about for a couple of hours while we were lost in another world.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What a marvelous start to spring! I really envy you and Tina all the lore you have about plants and herbs. I'm glad you had a great day and can't wait for the next field trip you two have :o)