The Indian Spring Garden

Ben Johnson and I shared one of those special days yesterday at The Springs, that make it all worthwhile.  We ignored the intermittent rain and incessant mosquito attacks to plant a garden at the Indian Springs.  Watercress and quack grass are out: native sedges, grasses, ferns and flowers are in.  When these plants take hold this will be an even more magical place than it already is.

IMG_3379

We started the day with empty wheel barrows, just down the trail from the main parking lot on Hwy ZZ, in the buckthorn alley.  The emergence, or should I say, explosion, of a wide variety of native plants along this trail makes referring to it as an “alley” a misnomer.  I’ll have to come up with a new name.  So we arrived at the Indian Springs with our diverse loads of plants…

IMG_3369

… and surveyed the void left by the recent removal of watercress and quack grass.

IMG_3371 IMG_3372 IMG_3373 IMG_3375

The profile of stream bed has changed significantly since I removed the mud dam in the narrows of the picture above, and we furthered that process along by cleaning the debris from the literally dozens of springs that emerge here.  I don’t have scientific data to back this claim up, but it appeared that the volume of water flowing from each spring increased significantly as the obstructions were removed.

IMG_3377 IMG_3379 IMG_3380

Although I try to live in the present moment, I can’t help but look forward to next spring, when the transplants have settled in and we should have the deck repaired.  We spent the later part of the afternoon cutting and poisoning sumac and pulling spotted knapweed amongst the lupine patches on the west side of the sand prairie.  Thanks for your help Ben!

Pati and I are going on a short vacation (back around July 15th), so I got some licks in at The Springs this past Tuesday, cleaning up the areas around the hillside springs.  I mowed the spur trails that lead to the hillside and hidden springs, as well as the trail that leads to the emerald springs and the unnamed springs just to the north.

IMG_3358 IMG_3360

In what will become a semi-annual event, I pulled loads of watercress from the headwaters at the Scuppernong Spring down to the first bridge downstream.  When my fingers encountered the planking they installed way back in the days when this stretch of the river was a trout factory, I couldn’t help but pull this garbage out.  I found huge 6×8″ beams spanning the river bed from bank to bank onto which the planks had been nailed.  These unnatural impediments to the stream flow must be removed.

Before…

IMG_3353 IMG_3354

… and after.

IMG_3355 IMG_3356 IMG_3361 IMG_3363

After removing the planks shown below, the height of the river noticeably declined.  The channel is now much deeper and more distinct.  When I showed the area to Ben on Wednesday there were two ducks, normally very skittish when humans are near, who refused to leave.  I think they liked the change.

IMG_3368

Along with the aforementioned beams embedded in the river bottom, there are still more planks and pipes left over from the old days that we plan to remove in the coming weeks.  This will go a long way toward facilitating the river’s return to a natural steam bed in this area.

Again, the late afternoon was spent digging and pulling spotted knapweed along the main trail on the sand prairie.

I thought it was going to be a classic Scuppernong Sunset as I bathed in the river, but this bank of clouds came up fast from the northwest.  I can’t remember a spring and summer where we have gotten so much rain so consistently.

IMG_3364

See you at The Springs!

7 thoughts on “The Indian Spring Garden

  1. Just when I’m getting over my third poison ivy episode this year, I punctured my right hand on a nail while removing the wooden planks from the bottom of the Scuppernong River. Its infected and I’m now on two antibiotics, one of which is the famous, or rather infamous, Cipro, that George “W” Bush and his cabinet went on, coincidentally of course, just before the anthrax attacks that helped shutdown the 9/11 investigation.

  2. I’m thrilled to see the Indian Spring get the help it needs. That area used to be smelly and filled with flies. It may eventually be as picturesque as the other springs along the trail! I’m hoping I’ll be able to get out there soon and see how things have changed since I was last there last Autumn.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s