Hepatica Hill is Stunning ~
At least among close friends and family, the first bluff overlooking the Sangamon River on the Buck Shroth Trail is known as Hepatica Hill. It is a great place to sit against a tree amidst this bed of Hepatica flowers to watch the river flow by and be present to all the senses of the space.
A picture can not capture the beauty of the flowery excess
The Hepatica have not bloomed this vibrantly for many years. The White snow trillium are already fading and were not as abundant as some years. The Hepatica is blooming in dark, vibrant pastels – deep lavender and even purple. Spring Beauties are now opening. A few random Dutchmen Breeches bear three to four leaves and some show the beginning bloom.
They are not yet plentiful, but by next weekend for the Wildflower Identification Hike lead by the Allerton Director of Natural Areas, Nate Beccue, the wildflowers should be abundant in variety. Reports are the Hike is already Sold Out and have a waiting list for tickets that come available. What a successful program this has been. Managing the ticket sales / reservations with the Event Brite App has been an efficient (and only way) to reserve a spot on one of these nature hikes. Many or most are limited to twenty five. Mr. Beccue leads a casual but highly informative hike. There will be an abundance of wildflowers in bloom for next week’s Wildflower Hike. The Jacks and the Pulpits, Purple Trillium and May Apples may require a later Spring hike for the later Spring flowers.
Last weekend the flood plain was dry enough to hike since the high waters of December. The beaver are quite active in The Park plain. A fallen tree, probably uprooted in the water, has now been chewed like corn on the cob. It’s interesting to see that beaver only chew the cambium, spitting out the outer bark, and not going to the wood below. Maybe like biting out the inner white pith of an orange rind – best part of an orange.
Animal Slide to River
Along the river edge on the flood plain, several active beaver slides are well-used and visible in the mud.
Recently girdled tree by beaver
It’s also too bad the beaver just girdle the tree of the cambium layer, which is the food supply circulation to the rest of the tree. Once the cambium layer has been removed around the tree, girdling the tree, the tree is unable to circulate food distal to the girdling. Thus the tree begins to die. Some trees, the beaver chew down and seemingly haul off in total, down the slide and into the river. This would be an interesting trail video…..
The gardens are looking nice. The trees have been trimmed. Flowers are blooming and others planted. The Girl with the Scarf is uncovered and basking again in the sun.
Biggest news, however, is that the roofing project is nearing an end.
Lowering the Scaffolding
The overhead scaffolding was lowered this week and carted away. The upper sections of the outer scaffolding have also been removed. The roof looks amazing. The copper flashing and ice cleats shoot sharp sun beam reflections. The copper roofed cupola still gleams in the sun, but in the course of winter has taken a nearly perfect patina.
The 2016 Concert Series has just been announced as well. Early concerts will take place in the Gate House Lawn then move to the Meadow. A good way to introduce the public to a vision of a future music destination – like a downstate Ravinia. The proposed Music venue will radiate from the new Bulb Garden. The winding path was poured last fall.
The Bulb Garden has good feng shui. The winding path is bilaterally equal. The center overlooks the meadow, with the house in view to the left. It’s a great place for 24 Form Yang Tai Chi, Ba Duan Jin and Yi Jin Jing. Anyone interested in joining – garden tai chi at The Park?
For now, the real dazzle in The Park is on the Buck Schroth Trail. The Lost Garden Trail slopes seem less abundant than Buck Schroth, but may just be a few days behind. By next week, the Spring Beauties, Hepatica and Dutchmen’s Breeches will be abundant on the slopes. The mottled leaves of Trout Lily won’t be long away. Bloodroot should also be blooming within the next week. Bloodroot prefers more shade than the early bloomers, and will be found in moist shade/sun, along with Wild Ginger.
Lots to look forward to this time of year at The Park, but only if “You get your boots on and Start Hiking.