Sunday, April 11, 2010

Six: Edna A. Spurgeon Nature Preserve

After a morning at Gene Stratton-Porter SHS, my husband and I headed due west to visit our first Noble Country ACRES preserve and ACRES very first preserve. Since I work outdoors in a garden in the middle of the woods and then spend my evenings working in my woods, I knew the spring flowers would be giving us a show.

At the entrance we saw wild leeks or ramps and spring beauties, but that was just foreshadowing.

Next were the toadshade (Trillium sessile) and trout lilies.

Other trillium were just starting to bloom, the large white trillium and the nodding trillium. In full bloom, the bloom of the nodding trillium is hidden under the leaves, just like a mayapple.

The real show, though, was the dicentra. Squirrel corn is Dicentra canadensis and Dutchmen's breeches is Dicentra cucullaria. The foliage is very similar, but squirrel corn is more finely cut. The billowy softness of the forest floor is the dicentra.

As I was staring at the ground, my husband was staring up at the trees. These were monster trees. Steve is standing next to a branch that fell from the tree in the second picture. Let me change the verb tense, the branch had fallen. Thankfully, we didn't experience any falling trees.

We are so thankful to the ACRES founders and Edna Spurgeon for preserving this glacial kame with its magnificent old trees. Crotch veneer, cut through the center where a large limb forks from a trunk, is highly prized for its very decorative flame or V-patterns. We saw a good example in the following tree and limb, which would have been worth many thousands of dollars if timbered. But the untouched forest is worth much more.

The trail was rather steep as it wound up and down the kame. It was hard to capture it, but if my hubby needed a rest (waiting for me to catch up), then you know it was steep.

Near the end of the trail, a hillside was just starting to bloom with woodland poppies. This is a rather rare sight. The whole preserve was a rare sight.