Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Couchville glade March 10 2009

1. wolf prints,deer prints,coyotes,fox.
2.reminds one of the Savannah in summer, without the heat,you feel eyes on you here hehe.
3.when a tree dies in the glade,it just slowly bleaches and crumbles with time, unlike in the forest where it quickly succumbs to rot.
3.Levenworthia stylosa this white/violet form had an eerie violet glow which doesn't pick up well on the camera, much variation on this in the small clumps some are pinkish and others stark white.
4.I've only ever seen these red small cacti that grow bear root over the poorly drained inch thick limestone in these glades,are they baby opuntias struggling for a good root hold? possibly opuntia fragilis form? i really don't know.
5.leavenworthis stylosa.
6.a creek runs across the exposed 400 million year old limestone in couchville glade.
7.lichens be likin the wet sunny winter
8.park trail headed dedicated to Tyler Alley Skies.
9.What amazes me about couchvinne glade is the cedar glades namesake resident,the red cedar, you can see the amazing diversity in form here in a single plot,and there are many of the oldest cedars i have ever seen in my life here.

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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