I love to landscape the landscape at the Scuppernong Springs. This distinguished tract of land deserves our love and attention for the sake of its beauty. So please, come out and help me dig a little spotted knapweed from the sand prairie!
The lay of the land at The Springs was evoked beautifully by John Muir, in his classic: The Story of My Boyhood and Youth, and I had to pinch myself last night as I walked alone behind the Scuppernong Spring and thought: ‘this is my garden’.
I’m intrigued by how others experience my garden.
Here is a great image from Landscape Photographer Byron S. Becker: “The photograph was taken in the spring of 2008 along Suppernong River near sundown. The camera was a 4×5 with a 90mm lens, using TriX 320 film and the exposure was 2 minutes; the developer was Pyronal.”
Below is an example of Kristen Westlake’s Fine Art Photography. You can see more of her images of The Springs, and all of her other outstanding work, here.
I had a wonderful week of beautiful weather for landscape gardening at The Springs! Last Monday, June 9th, I tried something new, per the advice of Jared Urban, and burned the first-year garlic mustard off the cut-off trail with my blow torch. Below is where the cut-off trail joins the main trail at signpost #13.
I got the worst patches and now the trail is officially “burned in” as Don Dane would say. I spent the afternoon digging spotted knapweed from the sand prairie and was glad to have Ben Johnson’s help with this seemingly Sisyphean task. We focused on cleaning up the lupine patches.
On Friday, June 13, I was joined by Dan Carter, Senior Biologist with The Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission (SEWRPC). Dan was continuing SEWRPC’s ongoing effort to document the vegetation at The Springs and invited me to come along.
SEWRPC has divided The Springs into 4 areas for their vegetation surveys:
1) The dry prairie at the springs (aka, the Indian Campground)
2) The dry woods
3) The springs, immediately adjacent wetlands, and upper reaches of the creek
4) The fen and sedge meadow in the vast open area immediately to the west (includes trench where marl was mined).
The first three areas listed above are located in the blue circle on the right below and the fourth is in the larger blue circle to the left. Click the links above to view SEWRPC’s preliminary vegetation surveys.
As we walked through Buckthorn Alley on our way to the hotel spring, Dan and I stopped frequently to make notes and take pictures. Dan recently completed his PhD in Biology at Kansas State University and he has a wealth of knowledge, understanding and wisdom. Here are just a few of plants he identified.
Be careful at The Springs! Poison Hemlock.
Forked Aster, a state threatened plant!
We visited the Ottawa Lake Fen State Natural Area and Dan showed me two new springs that I had never seen before. They emerge from the east side of the wetlands and you can find them by walking across the fen from campsite #334 towards the north until you come across their outflow channels.
Of course, there were lots of interesting plants here too.
And the carnivorous Pitcher Plant
Thanks Dan, for showing me around the place I love!
I spent the afternoon pulling and digging spotted knapweed on the sand prairie. There is a bumper crop of this noxious invader!
A soothing sunset at Ottawa Lake.
A “Honey” moon at the Lapham Peak Tower.
I had the pleasure of spending yesterday, June 14, at my favorite spot again.
The Indian Spring is being quickly overrun by quack grass and water cress so I spent the morning pulling these invasive plants. Before…
… and after.
Then I moved up the hill to the sand prairie and continued pulling and digging spotted knapweed. It’s going to take years to get rid of this stuff unless I get a whole lot of help.
Speaking of which, my good friend Carl Baumann, who has been harvesting black locust on the south end of the trail, split all of the logs in my woodpile setting the stage for some cozy fires at My Shangri-La. Thanks Carl!
And Andy Buchta noticed the freshly cut buckthorn by the main entrance on Hwy ZZ and he has commenced to piling. Thanks Andy!
It was a great week!
See you at The Springs!
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