Monday, December 21, 2009

Winter Solstice






These pictures of moss from Mt View cedar glade,
moss dominates in its favorite season, winter,
which just started today, it loves winter because
sunlight can reach the forest floor around the 
gladesedges and along the gravel while
the plants and trees are sleeping
naked over the winter.



 
You can see where migrating birds have
eagerly picked this common glade moss
to bits looking for goodies underneath.

 

Some wild strawberries
waiting patiently for spring





a HUGE deerfoot lichen wakes
up breifly in the low solstice sun
 
Some moss on a log

 

another kind of moss nearby

 

and yet another,
youll see this one stuffed
in orchid pots at 
the market.

 

a most diminutive resurrection fern
growing in an assortment
of mosses and lichens

 

I have never seen one with such sparse 
growth and small leaves!
Could it be environmental?

 

one of the oldest cedars around is at 
the entrance to mt view cedar glade

 

as is this sign

 

These were all taken on Dec 21, 2009 
as the solstice sun was already 
beginning to set around 2 pm,
 it looks like later in the afternoon,
due to the southern sun of the northern winters.



Mt view glade is precariously sandwiched
between a development and a highway,
but manages to have one of the 
densest echinacea populations,
and a colony of coreopsis.


We'll come back here in the spring and take another look around,
Until then you guys, Happy Holidays!!!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

We need a Spring Preview!!




 For those of us whom live where winter is a cold season,
there is always a longing for spring blossom's sweet breeze,
despite all the work that there is to do in the garden!
 Let me indulge you for a moment on some things
you can see in a few months if you visit a cedar glade,
                                    
                                              Southern ragworts







Purple prairie clover



I even miss the fleabane,and I have purposely planted
it at home!



Festive prickly pear blossoms
look like wax sculpture.



Crows foot or glade phlox



Hello daisies, we have coined them!
Echinacea tennesseensis
Waving "hello, hello!" in the breeze.



a white form leavenworthia stylosa



Rose vervain



southern ragworts



American columbo,spring,they form a stalk
with green and white intricate flowers.



The dogtooth violet,



Redbuds, spring cedar,and sickly sweet
fields of yellow Nashville mustard.


Come and take a stroll in one this spring!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Saturday, November 21, 2009

End of the Line

Here is my entry for the “End of the Line” photography
contest,my first entry in this contest ever.
This is more of the end on a line, 
There are definitely strong lines and an end in there!
This was taken at the end of the season 
in a cedar glade here in the Nashville area,
it is the ultimate end of one of the many 
cabbage white butterflies that have flourished
in this glade of a different flower,
and here at the end of the line we see the grasses
and the wings of the butterfly returning to the earth
to nourish another generation of creatures next year,
thanks for reading and looking guys- JJ



I had several to choose from and after a day of consideration
of the others I chose the one more appropriate for the end
of the growth season, another I considered was this one



At some point long ago,
this exposed solid stones rivergroup limestone bedrock 
(shoo a mouthful)
cracked,and water spent many years flowing
into the crack as it settled atop the stone 
in a poolwearing the stone open ans smooth
on either side, As you can see, the crack 
has more recentlycontinued its course from
the ending point.


I also considered the end of the line for this
once brave and mighty Hickory of the glade,
This was taken in early winter last year.
The grave of Sir Hickory





I concluded to present the first as my entry,
Boy these photo contests could get fun!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Under the surface


 

Dancing stumps in a Skeleton of a cedar glade that is usually
under water for much of the year, you can see the "skeleton" of the cedar glade
because most of the lighter gravel and soil have been washed away.
The supporting stone structure is all that is left behind.
This glade would have been part of the Daisy Trail cedar glade systems.


 




 

In a shallow pool in the glade,connected 
to the cave systems that underlie this glade
a resident crawdad enjoys some afternoon sunlight.



 
There are a few flowers lingering along the way
Like these susans
Susan thinks it is springtime,apparently.



 
And there is a lobelia or two as well

 

The last leaves flutter away from a giant shumard oak
dancing in the sun adjacent to Daisy trail cedar glades.


Other than that the glade is mostly an array of dried 
seed heads from any number of plants and grasses ,
evidence of extreme lushness in the glades this year.

 

Let us take a glance back through the seasons 
of 2009 from a viewpoint of this area 
at Daisy Trail cedar glade.



Early spring, leavenworthia stylosa dominates the scene



A little later,and the glade sandwort has stolen the show



late spring flooding ,there were ducks swimming in the glade!


Lets hope next year is even better in the glades,
Many plants here are endangered and the hearty weather
has helped them multiply and spread .

Thursday, October 15, 2009

October Orchids & Asters


October Ladies Tresses

October ladies tresses are a fragrant species of Orchid that grows right
here in Tennessee, and oddly it blooms in October,when the cold
night breeze wakes her up for her autumn show. The smell is sweet,
floral,and amazing, you'd want to bottle this one,but if you happen
to see one, NO PICKING!!they are quite rare in occurance within their range.
These are growing in very boggy,mossy
conditions in long, shallow,
soil and limestone gravel filled chasms in
the deep limestone bedrock that is exposed
nearby, their drainage is very poor,
the soil is VERY alkaline,
and they get all day blazing sun.


There are several
orchids native to north america and most are ground orchids like
this one, and a few others live in and around the glades, including
the cranefly orchid, which wakes it's leaves up for winter when
the sunlight can pierce the trees and reach the mossy floor in
the forest near the cedar glades.
Cranefly orchid,leaf

There are several species of Aster are coexisting in Tyler Glades,
they all seem to have their own spot in the glades that is just right
for them, I will attempt to name a few,although many of these
have been reclassified as symphyotrichum.

This is White Heath Aster



And this one is White wood aster, which is more of
a lavender,despite the name.


Here I am lost, but this one is definitely different.


This one is New England Aster, a classic.
Thank goodness for the cool weather,or I may have
alerted any number of tiny sweat bees that were sleeping
on its blossoms,and I hate sweat bees.
Yes,even though they are green and sparkly.





Here in the foreground you see the common Shorts aster,
Symphyotrichum shortii, this is the one you will most likely
see along the roadsides and throughout the open woods forming
a purple mist throughout.



So there's plenty going on while waiting for the fall colors
to fill out, and during what seems like a slow time for
flowers in the glade you may just find something
radically unusual, like an orchid!,and find yourself lying
in the mud oogling and snapping pictures!! Everyone agrees
there's just something about orchids...

This glade was very wet,it's basically a very wide,
very shallow river, normally equivalent to a
dry creek bed and a great quantity of water flows through

here in the wet season, shaping the glade and continuing
to wash away substrate where other cedar glades remain
more stagnant and you don't see so much active erosion.

Water oozes from the gravel,

it trickles from the grass,

it pours through the moss from between the trees,

it cascades between the stones in the paths,

and pours across the limestone flats,

it seems there are suddenly brooks babbling
and pools filling everywhere you look,

in what is normally the driest place in middle Tennessee.


Gattengers Lobelia is still blooming and seeding.
Usually gone by July, it has bloomed all year
in this wet weather.

Spiked gumweeds have also managed a few last minute blooms

And more from the dark side this Halloween season,
muahahaha!!! Here is an endemic roach in the cedar glades,
he has a remarkable vibrant red to black fade coloring,

ew ew ew I know right, roaches, but consider that in this
glade, in their habitat they are functional,beautiful little
critters, and their numbers are balanced by nature.

Some wicked looking mushrooms, fed by the rain,
are devouring the dead, muahahaha!!! and bringing life
to the soil of the karst between the limestone glade areas.


All sorts of beauty is washing up in this rain,

Huge snails in a wash collected by an aster.

Relics of an abundant and glorious season of lushness
in the Cedar glades, which have loved the excess rain
this year, unlike other areas which may have suffered.

Opuntia cacti are fruiting heavily, but I'll leave these prickly
boogers for the deer and coons over the winter.

And the promise of another season of bounty to come,
already showing SPROUTS!Widow's cross sedum is
sprouting before winter even comes, over the winter
it will grow low and trail along with these flat wide leaves
Next spring it will grow thick and full, before growing
little stalks with pointy leaves

and blooming along
with a full spring show here in the
Cedar Glades
of the Nashville basin.



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