Monday, August 26, 2013

Aquatic Garden Walk

Yesterday was a perfect summer day in Washington DC and it was the second in a row and my desire to go outside and enjoy it brought to mind the beautiful Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens a National Park since 1926 on banks of the Anacostia river. It's on a tidal marsh and has big ponds of water lilies and lotus surrounded by woods and water. There are lots of native plants which makes it an interesting nature walk in addition to the birds, animals and insects. We try to go every year and see the Lotus flowering but usually miss the peak due to the miserable heat and humidity which begs one to stay inside with the cool dry air or at least in the shade but these flowers only grow in full sun shine. Finding a good weather day to me is important to make it comfortable and fun.

We loaded up our iced water bottles, cameras, protein bars and sun hats.  We took off for a afternoon photography walk to relax and admire nature in this unique park.  I came home with over 100 images and we got in lots of walking strolling and fresh air. Mission accomplished. Now I want to share the best of my pictures with you and tell you a little of what I know about them for those of you who can't make it out there on your own. This would be a great place for a school science field trip or a family visit to learn about the special value of marshes and wet lands and ecology.
I am going to break the images up into groups so if you don't see what you were looking for in an aquatic garden scroll down further. I am beginning with butterflies:
orange butterfly and a dragon fly on iris leaves over the waterlilies

black and blue with white dots on purple Ironweed flowers 

another orange and black butterfly 

The under side of a butterfly black blue and a few spots of orange and white in the woods 

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There was a green cricket in the white marsh mallow flower
Next the Turtles and frogs sunning to warm up their cold blood. 

This one was a big as a dinner plate and only two feet from me at the edge of a lily pond 

green frog in a pot of papyrus 

two painted turtles on the willow stump 
Next come the wide shots to give you a view of the open pond areas, boardwalks over the tidal marshes and forest paths along the river.

yellow native water lilies edged by cattails 

marsh mallow flowering is like a big white native hibiscus 

purple loosestrife and lavender pickerel and a tall marsh grass just beginning to form seeds

board walks over the edges of the waterways are well above the water  

Ironweed at the edge of the board walk and the tidal marsh creek leading to the river

view from the end of the board walk seating for classes and a great view for bird watching

from the shady side of the boardwalk 

the creek was beginning to show signs of tide going out 

at the end of the forest trail is a nice area to sit and watch the canoes enjoying the Anacostia river. 

1.4 mile walk in the woods goes along the land that  divides the river from the marsh and is shaded and cool with lots of butterflies and birds and on quite days deer. 

Lotus flowers leaves and pods come next...

some ponds have top coat of duckweed one of my favorite water plants 

Next comes water lilies native and exotic:

Native red waterlily 

pinks in a pond 

pale pink water lilies

this is called a red water lily that is also native 

purple or blue tropical water lilies 

tropical water lily with spotted red green leaves  
Finally some shots of various wildflowers and my companion on this walk and tour.

big bees enjoying the purple loosestrife flowers 


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marsh mallow 

cardinal flower

resting on the benches at the end of the marsh boardwalk we are refreshed and happy we came

view to the river is spectacular 

only one lily pond has a bridge but it was too tempting to pass by with out walking over to the other side. 
 I hope you enjoyed the walk as much as we did. I would love to hear what you liked the best and answer any questions you have about the Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens.

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