Skunk cabbage blooming in the wild in West Fairmount Park, Philadelphia

In a ravine alongside a stream just north of the Horticultural Center, Wednesday February 21st 2024. Oddly mimicking the Skunk Cabbage flower in the picture above is a piece of a crashed and burned automobile which had scorched the other side of the stream, filled with burned seats and melted metal. A typical scene in Fairmount Park and all over Philly I hardly noticed the carnage.
For at least millennia this stream flowed into the Schuylkill River until the mid twentieth century when the Schuylkill Expressway was built over it filling in a vast portion of the ravine and sending the stream into an often blocked up tunnel. Yet the upper portion of the ravine is intact and has many of the long time flora surviving, including this population of skunk cabbage as well as Mayapple, Redbud and Spring beauty to name just a few.
I will call for it again and will continue to make my demand: The Schuylkill Expressway must be dismantled! It is not inevitable that it will last forever.
From an evolutionary point of view, what advantage does the expressway have over the Skunk Cabbage?

The Bluebell Place, April 28th, 2018

We went on a 7 mile bike ride this past Saturday in what we call the BLUEBELL   PLACE which is a trail along the Schuylkill River, on the other side of the river from Valley Forge Park.  It is MILES of bluebells just outside of Philadelphia.  We visited this site just to bathe in the beauty of the place and enjoy one of our very favorite plants, the Mertensia virginica. 

There was some decent variation of the species on site, here is a pink variety. We also saw some pale  blue specimens. Lesser celandine was the most annoying invasive covering much of the area most likely previously inhabited by Mertensia at this time of the year. We tried to not let this bother us too much as we were here to enjoy a happy spring day.
As you can see here, the trail is very inviting and also very long, which is why we chose bicycling. There are benches all along that one can stop at to enjoy the view.
  Here you can see the Lesser Celandine taking over. If local residents and volunteers could adopt a small, doable section and hand pulled these, maybe it could help mitigate the problem. Here is a pale blue variety! 

Springtime in our West Philadelphia row house backyard

Shenks Ferry Wildflower Preserve? A lot of the same plants! More like the Viola Street Wildflower Preserve! Just an 8 feet by 13 feet backyard garden we have quite a show going on!

The Dogwood is blooming away. The Blooms almost glow in the dark. Below is a view from the second floor.

Trillium blooming in the corner

The Dogwood Flower


Mayapple and Christmas Fern. Lastly one of our favorite Springtime plants, Bluebells!