Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Disaster at Daisy Trail

Daisy trail cedar glade spent nearly 2 weeks entirely under as
 much as 6 feet of water as a result of all the flooding over the
 1'st and 2'nd of may here in Tennessee.

This land should actually be high and dry ,as most cedar glades are,
 but Percy priest reservoir changed that when it was constructed in
 the 1960's bringing the shore live within 100 yards of the cedar glades,
 and occasionally flooding into the lower glades, never this badly.

It is not known at this point whether the glades will survive,
 i can confirm that the autumn onions, limestone fameflower,
and ruellia have survived, however many other plants boiled
 or suffocated in the shallow sunny water, 6 feet of standing
 water was a bit to much for many of the plants which are specially
 developed for dry spring summer conditions, and have perished.

I estimate a loss of 30 plant species in this glade for st least this year,
 time will tell what the seed bank held on to.

Right now it is a mucky brown mess full of dead baby fish and minnow, 
and has certainly changed the chemistry of the shallow limestone soils. 

Camera is in the shop so pics to come later, perhaps we will document
 the recovery of this cedar glade, as this has never before happened
 here and who knows if it can recover or if it will be lost forever.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Diversion~Spring ephemeral~ Karstlands

I've decided to provide a little diversion here at cedar glades of the Nashville basin and do an entry covering spring ephemerals in the karst lands at bakers grove
which is very near the couchville, mt view, and daisy trail cedar glades.
Karstland at bakers grove trail

An ephemeral plant is one marked by short life cycles, usually six to eight weeks. The word ephemeral means transitory or quickly fading. In regards to plants, it refers to several distinct growth strategies.
Early saxifrage and spring ferns enjoy the sun on the bluffs
click to enlarge

Spring ephemeral describes a life habit of perennial woodland wildflowers which develop aerial parts (i.e. stems, leaves, and flowers) of the plant early each spring and then quickly bloom, go to seed and then quickly die back to its underground parts (i.e. roots, rhizomes, and bulbs) for the remainder of the year. This strategy is very common in herbaceous communities of deciduous forests as it allows small herbaceous plants to take advantage of the high amount of sunlight reaching the forest floor prior to the leaf-out of woody plants.
 Yellow Corydialis , a spring ephemeral
related to Dutchman's breeches and bleeding hearts .

Tennessee has is one of the richest and most diverse environments for spring ephemerals
on the entire planet, lets take a look at some of the things i saw
today on this 4 mile medium difficulty hike at bakers grove trail,
i strongly recommend taking the walk soon if you are in the area,
especially if you are fond of trout lilies and dogtooth violets
yellow trout lily
they are thick on the north slope of the big hill 
this trail winds around
 And when i say thick i mean THICK

they cover the forest floor.

 There are also white ones,dogtooth violets,
 just as thick and lush as the yellow
  On the south side it is drier and leafier, and there is less moss.
things like trillium and may apples are at home here

 mayapples stretch into life already full sized
rue anemone
 a large colony of cranefly orchids,
i have yet to catch these in bloom.

cutleaf toothworts grow through out the trail.

The gem of bakers grove trail is definitely the bluffs, a sturdy but rocky
in places foot trail winds along these 100 foot bluffs over
Percy priest lake, and face the sunset, a lovely and romantic 
view for an afternoon hike or a picnic. 
sailboats viewed from the bluffs, nice and breezy here.
 sweet fragrant Chickasaw plum flowering along with cedars on the bluffs.
soft spring fern foliage blankets the pathway as 
you stroll through the boulders
an underground stream emerges from a pile of boulders full
of mossy grottoes
Here we have Mr Hugh "bullfrog" Hefner lounging
in his mossy grotto waiting for some lunch to happen along
please enlarge this pic to spot him near center.
this is a porthole to an underground stream,
and you can hear the water trickling softly
through the mossy earth.
the same stream emerges completely and flows
into the lake, there is a large footbridge over it, 
the only large footbridge on the trail, so you can follow 
that stream only a few hundred feet uphill 
to see these things for yourself!

If you like old graveyards or vinca minor, then
you are in luck at bakers grove trail!
there is an area several acres across that used to be a graveyard
where the vinca minor has run amuck, as it does, being
a terrible invasive, although still quite beautiful.
this amazing and horrifying area is quite near the entrance,
but its nothing compared to the amount of privet 
that crowds the first 100 yards or so. 

I hope you've enjoyed our Nashville basin karst
woodlands spring display, get out there and see it for yourself
if you can! spring is here! spring is here! at last at last!!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Wildflower Wednesdays ~ Cedar Glade Cress

Leavenworthia stylosa, or cedar glade cress,
also known as Nashville mustard,
is blooming away signifying the start
of another blooming season here in
the Cedar glades of the Nashville basin.

They have such a sweet musky small that just says
Tennessee springtime to me , as if
it were taylor made to the area.
Interesting fact about leavenworthis stylosa,
plants in the cedar glades in the southern half
of the nashville basin have pink or white flowers.

Plants in the northern edge have blazing yellow 
to even orange/yellow blossoms,
and a much stronger smell. 

I hope you'll stay tuned, we will be exploring some 
new to the site glades this year!


Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Winter Light

This photo for contest, my 
entry for this months picture this photo contest, "winter light"

the shadows reach for the dark warmer shelter of a certain
weathered crack in the bedrock I have featured on this blog

Same crack in summer,this photo not for contest.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Snowy Glade

Snowy Glade
Some pictures of the late January snow,

Tyler Alley Sykes memorial trail

the sky was so blue

the colors popped through the snow

the stream trickled through the ice and snow

an ice shelf overhangs the channel of the stream

Here and  there the moss peaks through the snow

Some prickly pear, O. humifusa,
peaking out through the snow,
cacti in the snow!
the glades are really a place
of working contradictions !

Here and there there are small sinkholes in the limestone
releasing warmth from deep in the ground

it melts the snow from the stone

delicate and rarely seen ferns like this
  pellaea thrive in these chasms

I do wish it would snow this way each winter,
I actually find the season tolerable
so long as there are bright snowy days
to cheer up the gloom of our winters,
Thank you all for reading in 2009, 
here's to many more years of cedar 
glade beauty for me to share with you all!!

Friday, January 8, 2010

"Nashville snow" and a success in Daisy trail cedar glade.

"Nashville snow" and a success for Daisy trail cedar glade.

Daisy trail cedar glade is a beautiful
and diverse area at the end of my own street,
I have been visiting this glade since 
we moved into this home and this
is the first time I have seen it in the snow
albeit a "Nashville snow" that's barely
dusted the grass.

While their leafy friends are deeply dreaming,
These stunted eastern red cedars
are wide awake and playing in 
the snow.

The exposed bedrock has a nice
white covering of fresh snow.

As do the karst areas between the hickories
that surround the glade.

Amazing textures in a broken sheet
of ice that had covered a pool which drained
away, deer most likely broke the ice.

Snow dusted moss covers the rocks in the
margins of the glade.

Frozen mud creates textures in the 
ice by a frozen pool.

Most of the nearby percy preist lake has 
been drained to winter low levels
and frozen over.

*And now for the small success*

That's right, Daisy trail cedar glade is now protected!
not that I can officially  take any credit,
but i don't know anyone else who has been
blogging about this out of the way unknown
cedar glade ,cataloging its rare and
endangered endemics, and sending emails and
letters to the state of Tennessee on it's behalf (eh hmm).

In reality the area spoke for itself when
surveyed at some point, it is a small
but diverse glade area and
one surrouded by flooded
out caves which  surely harbor
their own oddities.
 What this brand new sign basically means 


Is that people are now prohibited to damage stuff 
up in Daisy trail cedar glade,a subject which
has frustrated me for 3 years of
watching people dump,drive through,cut donuts
on atv's in,burn,steal from,and(gasp) even MOW
once two years ago. yup someone MOWED this cedar glade,
the area abutts several neighborhoods
and the kids play there often,
someone was also overly happy with their riding mower.
None of these people even know what a cedar glade is!!

well THAT is the point of this blog.

Because this area borders the lake,and hunting
and fishing are allowed there, it won't become 
a Glade reserve area such as Flat Rock,
Mt View, or Couchville glade, but there
is now a hefty fine for anyone doing 
the aforementioned actions.

so it's a happy day for Daisy Trail Cedar Glade

Sun Drenched Islands in the Dark Cedars

You may have encountered a cedar glade before if you enjoy walking through the woods in the Nashville Tennessee area, you would have been walking along through the cedars and would have come to a clearing, upon passing through you may have noticed how hot and dry it was,if in summer,or how wet and spongy the limestone gravel was ,if in winter.You may have had many of my own first thoughts , wondering "is this an old lot? perhaps and old road of some sort long degraded" before you started to notice plants you hadn't ever seen in your life,even though you've lived your entire life in the Nashville area, and if you had been lucky enough to happen across one during spring bloom time you'd notice the rainbow of colors blooming on those never before encountered plants, what an exiting place these glades can be!
In truth that place you thought may have been an old lot is a natural limestone clearing, Sometimes tens of thousands of years old , old enough for the plants there to adapt to their unique micro climate.
It's feasible to think that these places have been visited by animals and humans alike, for thousands upon thousands of years, being a natural clearing where one could camp or simply gaze up at the sky,and the way it seems so much bigger in the glades somehow, you can see the whole milky way sparkling there on a clear summer night, these places truly are a gift of natural beauty and diversity and a testament to the strength of life and its ability to adapt.

Sadly most of this rare ecosystem has been lost forever ,and some endemic plants are either extinct or severely endangered, in the past they have been built on ,dumped in,and covered over with rubble, they are inundated by man made lakes and torn apart by people with atv's and four wheelers who do not realize what they are doing.
There may be less than 10% of what cedar glade
there was before the Nashville basin was settled, and that continues to shrink even today, So lets educate our friends in the world of horticulture about our cedar glades.

Here are some resources for Cedar Glade Research:

Cedar Glade Endemic Plants

Center for Cedar Glade Studies

Cedar Glade Wikipedia