Thursday, September 9, 2010

Late Summer View from the Hill

I probably spend more time on top of The Hill than I do at any other single place at Blue Jay Barrens. From that vantage point you can make a quick assessment of the condition of many of the special ecosystems found on the property. The view across the old cropfield shows a vast stand of Indian Grass just reaching its prime.

This section of trail was flanked by coneflowers earlier in the season. Thos flowers have been eclipsed by the Indian Grass, but their ripening seed heads are still there among the grass stems and the flowers will be back in place early next summer. It’s hard to imagine this field as having a solid stand of Oats just 25 years ago.

The combination of flowering Indian Grass and wind make a vibrant and ever changing display. As the flower heads whip and swirl, I can’t help thinking that the plants are frisking like a young colt running and kicking up its heals. In the spring, Tall Fescue and Oxeye Daisy appeared masters of the field, but when I look at this, I can’t help but believe that Indian Grass will rise to dominance.

By looking in the opposite direction, we can check the progress of a field that hasn’t seen a row crop in over 60 years. Gray Goldenrod usually speckles this field with yellow at this time of year, but it has been noticeably absent this year. That’s somewhat surprising given the abundance of plants we had last year and the number of healthy basal leaf clusters I saw during the winter. The numbers of other goldenrod species also seem to be diminished this year. I wonder if all the early rains made it a bad growing season for goldenrod.

From The Hill you can look across the valley at the cedar thickets and on to the deciduous woodland. This will be a totally different scene a month from now when the trees change color. I’m beginning to see a patchwork of lighter greens caused by moisture loving trees that are beginning to pale because of the current drought. It’s a big change from June when we were wondering if the rain would ever end and the trees were putting on an especially lush growth.


  1. beautiful. I would love to have this as my backyard!! You chose well...

  2. Hi Sreve was going to get to you this morning but started cleaning and didn't dare stop...that would have been the end to that!!
    I clicked those fields up close and there sure is a lot of color in the grasses!!
    I like the mowed path...I used to have mowed paths in the back but don't anymore ..I loved doing that ...if you need someone to ; }
    What are the real green clumps in the field??
    Looks like you have a great place there!!

  3. Hi, Kelly. Hopefully it won't be long before you find your own big back yard.

    Now, grammie g, I don't want to hear that you've been playing on the computer before your chores are done.
    Those green clumps are Yucca. That stuff stays green no matter what.