Saturday, July 25, 2009

Tyler Alley Sykes Memorial Trail, High Summer, July 2009.

Tyler Alley Sykes Memorial Trail,
High Summer,
July 2009 .
1,2,&3.There are few things rarer in the glades than the blackberry lily, which is an iris! (sometimes called blackberry iris) an exiting find,though I'm a few days
off for full bloom.


















4.
Foliar fruit flagging is when the leaves of some
plants and trees turn color early to signify the ripeness of
fruit to birds and other animals.This is winged sumac.














5.Helianthus are blooming in the shade, The Jerusalem artichoke is a close relative and these are edible, Of course most things are, for that matter.


6.White flowered leafcup is very common in the preist lake area, often mistaken for celandine poppy before it has bloomed.





7.I love the mathematical symmetry of flowering spurge,
it flowers once,branches five,flowers,branches three,flowers,branches two,flowers.
















8.It has been so wet and temps low enough that the gattingers lobelia is still going strong,this is the lilliputian form i love so much.
















9,10,&11. Talking trumpets, this seems to be a variant specialized to this glade,large leaves with random indention,ruffled edges and stumpy growth,this one grew yup this cedar when it was alive,it has since died leaving the thick vine twining through the dead skeleton ,almost indistinguishable from the dead wood,it is a beautiful site reminiscent of Chinese floral arrangement.


12,13,&14. Whorled milkweed, as a hoya collector and a lover of all asclepiads milkweeds get me exited,this one reminds me of a hoya retusa or maybe a linearis, it is delicate and dainty ,swaying gently in the breeze.







15. More houstonia,the summer bluet,these are profuse in the wet weather we have had.

16&17.Rose pinks, a tonic tea is made from the plant.














18. Lesser flebane though common,can be beautiful in the proper setting, it dominates many glades in high summer,and this little guy couldn't stop dancing and "smiling" at me while being shot.

19-24. False aloe, hardy agave,rattlesnake master, naked lily, many names for this petal-less lily that comes in many forms,the fragrance is amazing, you have to smell one,if you can spot it!



































25.Persimmons just waiting for my wild autumn goodies, you have to wait until the fall,and harvest the freshest ones from the ground,as the ones on the tree will have you puckerin' like nothing else, but the ones on the ground
are the closest thing to candy I have ever picked yum!



26&27 This old guy seems to watch over the glades with his
horrible expression,fitting as this is,in reality, a very harsh environment that has been plagued with problems since man arrived in the cedar glades,his crown divulges his age,many cedars in the glade are far far older than they look, due to the harsh stunting conditions and their normally slow growth, and in fact i have found that there are variations on our juniperus virginiana that are normally only found where there are sand dunes,the differentiation is most obvious in the berries.

















28.Carolina buckthorn has attractive foliage and berries.




29. Slenderstalk beeblossom
















30. Faded Tennessee coneflowers languish in the summer sun, the flowers never really wilt away.









31. I have always been a fan of the partridge pea, though common.




I hope you have enjoyed our little walk through the glades and i look forward to bringing you more, remember to tell your friends about this rare and endangered ecosystem so that your grandchildren can have glades to visit one day!






















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