Earth Garden VII: Northern Rail Trail section

Last weekend I walked the Northern Rail Trail between Webster Lake, in Franklin NH, and Highland Lake, in East Andover, NH. It’s about 5-1/2 miles of flat walking on a wide, mainly shaded trail, crossing over Sucker Brook several times. It was a sunny day, in the mid-70s (warmer than it has been), and almost bug-free.

There was a surprising array of spring plants to notice on this section, including some that made only one appearance that I observed (comfrey; celandine; a black mustard — I think — aka Brassica nigra; some sort of Ranunculus, maybe sceleratus aka cursed crowfoot) while others flourished in sections and then were seen no more (coltsfoot), and still others were with us the whole way (Maianthemum racemosum aka false Solomon’s seal and dandelions in droves, Alliaria petiolata aka garlic mustard sparingly).

The invasive but beautiful and heavenly scented autumn olive (Elaeagnus umbellata) at a road-crossing along one bit of the section hosted several Eastern tiger swallowtails.  I saw robins, sparrows and juncos, and heard many others. Dodged caterpillars and neon green inch worms that hung low from the trees over the path. Saw so many different kinds of ferns that I almost felt I was trying to read a foreign language as we walked; I knew that each corresponded to a name but that was as far as my fern-ignorance took me.

Hope you enjoy seeing these as much as I did!

entrance at Chance Pond Road, Franklin
entrance at Chance Pond Road, Franklin NH (actually facing east, while I walked west)
sign about making the RR on Hogback Hill
sign about making the RR on Hogback Hill
one of several pink lady's slippers
one of several pink lady’s slippers
false Solomon's Seal (everywhere)
false Solomon’s seal aka Maianthemum racemosum (everywhere)
Virginia creeper
Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia)
sign for the Andover town line
sign for the Andover town line
low-bush blueberry
low-bush blueberry
may be Caulophyllum thalictroides (Blue Cohosh) ?
may be Caulophyllum thalictroides (blue cohosh) ?
another view of Alliaria petiolata (Garlic Mustard)
garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata) flower with visitor
Alliaria petiolata (garlic mustard) plant
garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata) plant
colony of Equisetum (probably E. arvense, aka horsetail)
colony of Equisetum (probably E. arvense, aka horsetail)
interrupted fern
interrupted fern (Osmunda claytoniana)
coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara) with its leaves and a photobombing fern
coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara) with its leaves and a photobombing fern
spent bloom of coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara)
spent bloom of coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara)
yarrow (Achillea millefolium) in bud
yarrow (Achillea millefolium) in bud
un ID'd fern
un ID’d fern
crossing Sucker Brook
crossing Sucker Brook
retaining wall with moss and ferns
retaining wall with moss and ferns
greater celandine (Chelidonium majus)
greater celandine (Chelidonium majus)
pink honeysuckle flowers
pink honeysuckle flowers
white and yellow honeysuckle flowers
white and yellow honeysuckle flowers
probably Brassica Nigra (black mustard)
probably black mustard (Brassica Nigra)
comfrey flowers
comfrey (Symphytum) flowers
Eastern tiger swallowtail on autumn olive (Elaeagnus umbellata)
Eastern tiger swallowtail on autumn olive (Elaeagnus umbellata)
Autumn olive (Elaeagnus umbellata) shrub
Autumn olive (Elaeagnus umbellata) shrub at road crossing
Autumn olive (Elaeagnus umbellata) flowers
Autumn olive (Elaeagnus umbellata) flowers
another Eastern tiger swallowtail on Autumn olive (Elaeagnus umbellata)
another Eastern tiger swallowtail on Autumn olive (Elaeagnus umbellata)
Ranunculus (probably sceleratus aka Cursed Crowfoot or Cursed Buttercup)
Ranunculus (probably sceleratus, aka cursed crowfoot or cursed buttercup)
maple leaf I like
maple leaf I like
Jack in the Pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum)
Jack in the pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum)
Jack in the Pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum) with its leaves
Jack in the pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum) with its leaves
Christmas fern, I think
Christmas fern (Polystichum acrostichoides)
Red Trillium with spent flowers
red trillium (Trillium erectum) aka Wake Robin, with spent flower
dock plant (I think it's Rumex crispus, curly or yellow dock)
dock plants (I think it’s Rumex crispus, curly or yellow dock)
yellow pond lily (Nuphar Lurtea)
yellow pond lily (Nuphar Lurtea)
marsh
marsh

 

All of these Anniversaries

pink geranium (unk variety - plant sale)

“In June as many as a dozen species may burst their buds on a single day.  No man can heed all of these anniversaries; no man can ignore all of them.” —  Aldo Leopold

Nor can woman.

The garden is bursting forth with a new bud or blossom or emergence from the ground each day now. I think of my garden as primarily a late summer affair — when the veronicastrum, Joe Pye Weed, milkweed, echinacea, hosta, anise hyssop are fully grown and flowering and when the butterflies, dragonflies, and wasps flit from one to the other — but the activity now reminds me that though it may be in its glory in August, every day is a day to celebrate something new and renewed in the garden.

Centaurea (perennial bachelor's button) starting to bloom
Centaurea (perennial bachelor’s button) starting to bloom
'Tina' crabapple blossoms and buds
‘Tina’ crabapple blossoms and buds
first anemone sylvestris bloom
first anemone sylvestris bloom
violets, heather, and penstemon in back border
violets, heather, and penstemon in back border
flowers of shrubby honeysuckle (Morrow's?)
flowers of shrubby honeysuckle (Morrow’s?) – the scent is divine!
Solomon's Seal and giant allium in bloom
Solomon’s Seal and giant allium in bloom
weeping 'Jade' crabapple and 'Olga Mezitt' rhodos in bloom
weeping ‘Jade’ crabapple and ‘Olga Mezitt’ rhodos in bloom
iris in bud (transplanted from neighbours')
iris in bud (transplanted from neighbours’)
inside dark tulip
inside dark tulip
pink geranium (unk variety - plant sale)
pink geranium (unk variety – plant sale)
'Sensation' and 'Beauty of Moscow' lilacs in bloom
‘Sensation’ and ‘Beauty of Moscow’ lilacs in bloom
first red bloom of the large rhodos
first red bloom of the large rhodos

 

Earth Garden VI: Porter Preserve (BRLT)

yet another view of the river

A photo series from a visit to another Boothbay Region Land Trust property, on Barter’s Island, in Boothbay, Maine: Porter Preserve (PDF), about 21 acres along the Sheepscot and Back rivers. The loop trail is a little more than 1/2 a mile with at least eight opportunities (some loop trails in their own right) to walk out to views along the way, many of which would be a great place for a picnic on a hot day. There is also a small sandy beach.

The views of the Sheepscot River are exquisite and the trail quite varied, through woods, to outcroppings, in shrubby uplands, and including a memorial grove and an active wharf.  This is one of my favourites of the BRLT properties.

Below are some photos from this “garden” spot.

PorterPreservesignBartersIslandME25May2014

stepping "stones" made of tree trunks
stepping “stones” made of tree trunks
Sheepscot River cove and rocks
Sheepscot River cove and rocks
side trail from rocks
side trail from rocks
Sheepscot River view
Sheepscot River view
trail with shaft of sunlight
trail with shaft of sunlight
Salty Paws motor boat on Sheepscot
Salty Paws motor boat on Sheepscot
Sheepscot River view with spruce
Sheepscot River view with spruce
trail
trail
another view of the river
another view of the river
trail with darkness and light
trail with darkness and light
trail with view to river
trail with view to river
beach area
beach area
upland in sunlight
upland in sunlight
rocky islands in Sheepscot
rocky islands in Sheepscot
yet another view of the river
yet another view of the river
foundation of old house
foundation of old house
view of Sheepscot River through trees
view of Sheepscot River through trees
apple tree growing along coast (one of two)
apple tree growing along coast (one of two)
apple blooms
apple blooms
waterholes and view
waterholes and view
lobster traps
lobster traps
Robinson's Wharf
Robinson’s Wharf
shack near Robinson's wharf
shack near Robinson’s wharf

 

 

“All Life, Love and Death in One Breath of Maytime Air” *

Good Bugs Art Pack cover

Back to the garden at hand: It’s been chilly and rainy here the last couple of weeks; last night our low was predicted to be 39 but happily only hit about 46. Days are in the 50s. Today, though, is shaping up to be sunny and mid-60s, a lovely day for planting out the tomatoes, cucumbers, and basil seedlings, as well as some cabbage and nicotiana (flowering tobacco) plants I bought yesterday, and some Asclepias incarnata (swamp milkweed) I bought at a plant sale over the weekend, as well as seeds for carrot and radish (both a bit late), more nasturtium, scarlet runner beans, and maybe, depending on soil temp — needs to be 60 or above, which is doubtful — beans and squash. [Update: I checked the soil temps with the soil thermometer and was surprised that the new bed soil temps are 80 degrees! Squash and beans are going in! Other beds are between 62-72. The planter is a bit less than 60, though, so have to wait a week or so to plant into it.]

I also bought the most beautiful seed packets at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens this weekend; they are the Hudson Valley Seed Library art packs, with lovely art on each geniusly created packet. (Click photo to see larger view.)

I’ve got the Good Bug annual blooms that can go out today (zinnias, blue cornflower, sweet alyssum, flax, chamomile, etc.), plus an arugula, and a lemon cucumber, which likely has to wait a couple of weeks (2 weeks after last frost).

Made in the Shade seed packet (already sown!)
Made in the Shade seed packet (already sown!)

And coming in the mail in a day or two are more of the Botanical Interests “Made in the Shade” annual/biennial/perennial flower seed mix — with Chinese Forget-Me-Not, Baby Blue Eyes, Globe Candytuft, Alpine Forget-Me-Not, Sweet William, Yellow Button Daisy, Balsam, Johnny-Jump-Up, Virginia Stock, Siberian Wallflower, Columbine Blend, Shasta Daisy, Alyssum, Blue Pimpernell, Shirley Poppy, Coleus, Foxglove, Mountain Garland, and Baby Snapdragon Toadflax — plus cilantro, dill, and borage seeds, and another seed mix called “Bring Home the Butterflies,” for a sunny location, which includes Mexican Lupine, Purple Coneflower, Mexican Sunflower, Calendula, Cosmos, Balsam Camellia, Pincushion Flower, Borage, Sunset Flower, Parsley, Cornflower, Crimson Clover, Blazing Star, Lance-Leaved Coreopsis, Prairie Gayfeather, Sweet Sultan, Sweet William, Rainbow Mix Aster, Black-Eyed Susan, Dill, Snapdragon, Yarrow, Sneezeweed, Bishops Flower, Lemon Mint, Rocky Mtn. Bee Plant, and Tall Verbena.

Here’s some of what’s going on in the garden besides me planting seeds and seedlings:

red bud on large rhodos
red bud on large rhodos
white bleeding heart in back of property
white bleeding heart in back of property
trollius starting to bloom
trollius starting to bloom
'Beauty of Moscow' lilac
‘Beauty of Moscow’ lilac
'Sensation' lilac (French lilac) bloom
‘Sensation’ lilac (French lilac) bloom
'Jade' crabapple and 'Olga Mezitt' rhododendron in bloom
‘Jade’ crabapple and ‘Olga Mezitt’ rhododendron in bloom
purple leaf sand cherry and tansy
purple leaf sand cherry and tansy
purple leaf sandy cherry close
purple leaf sandy cherry close
'Tina' crabapple and some of back garden
‘Tina’ crabapple and some of back garden
shade border
shade border
Tiarella 'Spring Symphony' in bloom
Tiarella ‘Spring Symphony’ in bloom
some of back garden with shed
some of back garden with shed

__________

* quote from Monty Don in Gardening Mad (1998), about hawthorn: “The raw sexuality of the plant, with its hint of rotting flesh, merely added to the richness of the magic — all life, love and death in one breath of Maytime air.”

Earth Garden V: Singing Meadows Preserve (BRLT)

apple blossoms and buds

A photo series from a visit to another Boothbay Region Land Trust property, in Edgecomb, Maine: Singing Meadows Preserve (PDF). The name derives from the way the meadow “sings” in the summer with crickets, cicadas, frogs and toads, and birds all chiming in. The 16-acre property (with a 1/2 mile loop trail) is “a delightful living laboratory for nature studies.” The brochure says that only one annual mowing is done, in the fall after a heavy frost.

I was happy to see a clouded sulphur butterfly feeding on dandelions, quite a lot of false Solomon Seal, a blooming purple lilac (only one in the meadow), milkweed, willows, and a sparrow. And three friendly black labs!

Below are some photos from this “garden” spot.

kiosk
kiosk
apple tree and bench near entrance
apple tree and bench near entrance
apple blossoms and buds
apple blossoms and buds
false Solomon's Seal (Maianthemum racemosum)
false Solomon’s Seal (Maianthemum racemosum)
flower on false Solomon's Seal (Maianthemum racemosum)
flower on false Solomon’s Seal (Maianthemum racemosum)
colours of the meadow
colours of the meadow
wet area
wet area
cattails in meadow
cattails in meadow
clouded sulphur butterfly on dandelion
clouded sulphur butterfly on dandelion
choke cherry, I think
probably chokecherry (Prunus virginiana)

 

purple lilac in bloom
purple lilac in bloom
lupine, one of 6 or 7 in a sort of circle
lupine, one of 6 or 7 in a sort of circle
milkweed
milkweed
swath of false Solomon's Seal (Maianthemum racemosum)
swath of false Solomon’s Seal (Maianthemum racemosum)
shrub I like (ID?)
shrub I like – maybe a cherry seedling
probably a song sparrow
probably a song sparrow
Eurybia divaricatus (White Wood Aster) here too
Eurybia divaricatus (White Wood Aster) here too
line of willow where the water is
line of willow where the water is

Earth Garden IV: Zak Preserve (BRLT)

A photo series from a visit to another Boothbay Region Land Trust property, in Boothbay, Maine: The Zak Preserve (PDF).  It’s the largest of the preserves maintained by the Land Trust, 208 acres including a large open field, a salt marsh, and extensive woods. There are two trails, the 1-mile White Loop partially along Wildcat Creek, and the 1.2-mile Yellow Trail, a one-way to River Road (so 2.4 miles altogether, in and out), for a total of 3.6 miles. There was a notice in the kiosk that the Yellow Trail is temporarily not maintained and travel would be at our own risk. We risked it, and got to within 1/10 mile of River Road when the persistent barking of a dog dissuaded us from going farther.

We were lucky on this trip to see a garter snake on the trail — the weather has not really warmed up yet, so this was a bit of a surprise — as well as a pair of American black ducks in the creek/wetlands. And some ginseng!

Below are some photos from this “garden” spot.

signZakPreserveBoothbayME25May2014

 

 

kiosk at entrance
kiosk at entrance
Wildcat Creek marsh
Wildcat Creek marsh
Eurybia divaricatus (White Wood Aster) ... lots of it in woods along wetlands
Eurybia divaricatus (White Wood Aster) … lots of it in woods along wetlands
bad photo of American black duck pair
bad photo of American black duck pair
Wildcat Creek
Wildcat Creek
dwarf ginseng
dwarf ginseng
feather on trail
feather on trail
crow? feather on trail
crow? feather on trail
trail
trail
one of many interesting bridges
one of many interesting bridges
fern
fern (probably Common polypody – Polypodium virginianum)

 

another fern
another fern
another fern
maybe young Christmas fern
view to creek from woods
view to creek from woods
trail through mossy log
trail through mossy log
garter snake head
garter snake head
whole snake (partially under plant)
whole snake (partially under plant)
another bridge
another bridge
another bridge
another bridge
fungi on mossy log
fungi on mossy log
trail entrance from (or exit to) meadow
trail entrance from (or exit to) meadow

Earth Garden III: Ocean Point Preserve (BRLT)

trail through blow-downs, Ocean Point Preserve

One of the great attractions of the Boothbay, Maine area — besides the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, the ocean, the harbor, the restaurants — is the Boothbay Region Land Trust. The Land Trust has conserved and maintains more than 30 preserves, many of which have well-marked trails on them, on the Boothbay peninsula and islands around it.

We’ve hiked more than half of the trails, each a unique exploration of meadows, forested upland, mixed forest, tidal marshes, freshwater wetlands, rivers, and quiet coves. The walks range from easy and only a mile or so (most of them) to moderate and longer, some as long as 4 miles.

Yesterday, we walked a new area, the Ocean Point Preserve in East Boothbay. It’s a short walk, about a mile on 25 acres that includes many blow-downs — looked like something cataclysmic occurred — as well as swampy areas, two ponds, and a marsh. The main feature at this time of year, other than the blow-downs, is a very healthy plethora of skunk cabbage.

Below are some photos from this “garden” spot.

path, Ocean Point Preserve
path, Ocean Point Preserve
skunk cabbage in boardwalk, Ocean Point Preserve
skunk cabbage in boardwalk, Ocean Point Preserve
skunk cabbage, Ocean Point Preserve
skunk cabbage, Ocean Point Preserve
reindeer moss, Ocean Point Preserve
reindeer moss, Ocean Point Preserve
pond with sunlight, Ocean Point Preserve
pond with sunlight, Ocean Point Preserve
boardwalk pattern, Ocean Point Preserve
boardwalk pattern, Ocean Point Preserve
sign for side trail, Ocean Point Preserve
sign for side trail, Ocean Point Preserve
view of larger pond, Ocean Point Preserve
view of larger pond, Ocean Point Preserve
marsh view, Ocean Point Preserve
marsh view, Ocean Point Preserve
bunchberry in bloom, Ocean Point Preserve
bunchberry in bloom, Ocean Point Preserve
skunk cabbage, Ocean Point Preserve
lots of skunk cabbage, Ocean Point Preserve
blow-downs, Ocean Point Preserve
blow-downs, Ocean Point Preserve
chair made of tree, Ocean Point Preserve
chair made of tree, Ocean Point Preserve
skunk cabbage, Ocean Point Preserve
skunk cabbage, Ocean Point Preserve
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