Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Wildlife Gardener's Meetup (Part 2)

Wildlife Gardener's Forum,

On the second location we were in a park somewhere in Maplewood, NJ. I'd describe it as a Piedmont area which is not quite mountainous but rocky enough to not be considered coastal. There were tons of large boulders and rocks all over the place. It was clear that in some places the park designers had just given up trying to remove them and simply placed pick nick tables in the middle of the most uneven and treacherous terrine imaginable. It would not surprise me in the least to learn we'd walked over the breeding tunnels to countless snakes and other critters that crawled from Pandora's box.

The forest here seemed to be in good health. I can't say we noticed any major invasive at all. I recall a few of the highways on the drive up there even had wildlife corridors built as over passes over the road. 

Ferns grew almost everywhere that had view of the water.

Violets were here and there too and were even sprouting up among the roots of fallen trees.

Hepatica was growing wildly there too. This is a wonderful spring ephemeral that blooms around March and April that few travelers get to see. It's often still too cold out to really venture into the wilderness. The leaves are semi-evergreen which is uncommon for an ephemeral.

There were a few Asters about too but they were all mostly small plants that each had only a few flowers. They were certainly nothing like the New England Asters I have in my garden.

This is where the troll lives. Actually believe it or not this is a pathway. You have to scale the rocks and climb your way through this slope. Some of the trails there are not for the faint of heart and certainly not handicap assessable.

Waterfalls were the real highlight of this place. A few streams come through it and the main trails lead you right along them.

It's better to walk a trail that takes you all the way to the end of the park, one not near the river; so this way you walk up stream facing all the waterfalls, as opposed to having to turn around always to look at them.

The river never seemed to be all that deep, but it did widen up a bit here and there. I can't imagine anyone kayaking down it for very long. The picture above aside, there are too many rocks everywhere and you'd likely bust your head open going down some of the falls.

There were several benches setup, sometimes in odd places, but often highlighting a particular view or vista.

Looking forward.

Looking back.

On the way out, I spotted what I think is a Cecropia moth cocoon all bundled up within a leaf.