Sunday, June 16, 2013

Rain = green....

This past few weeks seem to be punctuated with a lot of rain. It has been wetter and cooler than usual and we have enjoyed some nice green grass and trees and flowering plants in return for dealing with those less than perfect days. I continue to take a walk each day when we are home and we discovered the most lovely walking paths hidden in the woods at Fort Totten, a dirt fort built during the civil war to ring the city, is just over the tracks and up the hill to the north of our home. Once we were in the woods the most delightful surprise popped up at my feet a wild flower I recognize from previous woodland walks in the Appalachian mountains.
Chimaphila maculata otherwise known as spotted wintergreen. The stands we found were in the oak leaf litter scattered over the forest floor between oak tree seedlings. I went back yesterday with Keith to see if we could find some that were open because the first time they were all in bud but none were open yet. A few were flowering and they face the ground so not so easy to photograph. The leaves are green all year round and this native flowering evergreen is endangered in the Canadian provinces far north of DC.
I expect if the English ivy got hold of this forest floor they would be rare here too.

Keith walks a deer path into the woods towards bigger paths made by walkers and maybe bicyclists

spotted wintergreen named for those white lines on the leaves

it has a little waxy white flower 

sun shine breaking into the dappled forest where the trees have fallen 

They come up in groups some places and singles in others 

Height is from four to ten inches tall 

Keith shows us the underside of a flower and some hand for scale

those whorls of dark green leaves in triple sets always stand out to me on the forest floor. 

Looking out into the field from under the cool shade of the tall oaks 
 Just one of the many interesting things growing near by are the raspberries along the roads and paths where forest ends and fields begin. It's amazing to see all this so close to our home but the national park service doesn't do much to maintain the trails. We had to step over fallen trees on the police access road now both times we went hiking.
raspberries in the shady boarders of the forest 

raspberries in the full sun 

close up you can see why they are called raspberries! 

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