Archive for the ‘Schuylkill River Watershed’ Category

Springtime in our West Philadelphia row house backyard

Thursday, April 20th, 2017

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!


Trees along the Schuylkill River, Philadelphia

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2014

Today, walking along the River just downriver from the Pumping station, there was plenty to see! Plant life was everywhere in its winter attire creating silhouettes upon the grey December sky.

Trees along the schuylkill River

Trees along the Schuylkill River

The open fields, mowed and manicured, create a great space for the display of trees. Here they can grow unrestricted, showing off their ubiquitous forms to the world. Here is our classroom for the field lesson on the form of trees. Getting to know and becoming familiarized with the the shapes of various trees is rewarding. One tree after the other, we learn the language of the trees, for they all have such unique shapes and growth patterns, it becomes a really fun readable landscape.

imageThe Tulip Poplar, a fast growing very straight trunked tree, and very common in Fairmount Park.  In this picture we are looking at the seedpod, here most of the seeds have been expelled.
imageAnd here it is in its form, The Tulip Poplar naturally reaches outward and upwards. However in the forest setting this tree is more narrow.

Below, a Sycamore is growing out of the 19th century drainage infrastructure. The pumping station is in the backround.
image imageAbove, an Ash tree. A row of Plane trees in the back-round. And Below the Ash tree’s  distinctive deeply furrowed bark.

imageA Sycamore in Silhouette, here we see a common pose, at an angle, often over a river or creek, but here, just over the grass. How about that distinctive gloomy winter sky?

The Sugar Maple. Below the trunk with its peeling bark.

imageBelow, the White Pine.
image imageA Silver Maple with the back drop of the Philadelphia Skyline. Below another Silver Maple, this grand specimen festooned with the invasive Asiatic bittersweet Vine.


So there we have it, a few distinctive trees to enjoy on this fine December Day along the Schuylkill River. There was a Red Maple blooming, but no pictures. It was so nice to get outside and look at the trees, this is the season for seeing trees as their forms.

We don’t have this opportunity in the summer, and to get out and try to identify and appreciate them is rewarding and a great reason to go outside and look at things when the weather is cold and often dismal.

…..So dear readers, this week marks our fourth year of the Sanguine Root! 4 years and we are still blogging away! Keeping a blog is a lot of work, and making posts needs to be as easy as possible so we can focus on the content, but this is not always easy to do. We applaud all bloggers out there who can keep them going. We thank our readers for their comments and commitment to reading our material, and many of you are our friends and comrades. The Sanguine Root has brought us many adventures and made us many friends. We have learned much in the realm of our blog. We have posted about native Garlic mustard growing in the south of France from an outdoor balcony in the southern French City of Rodez using wifi found in the City air and then at another time finding ourselves in vast swamps in Georgia and Florida writing down the names of tiny blooming flowers and uploading their beautiful images at the nearest sign of the internet. Long hard days in Morris Park, Philadelphia removing invasive plant material documented in bag counts or perspective. Even on a remote roadside in Western Massachusetts, we have posted about gorgeous red berries growing on native shrubs in the most ignored ditches. Our adventures and explorations have opened us up to the world and its wide open spaces and the glorious green growing things that we so much love to write about  hopefully  in the most uplifting and flowery of prose possible!

We have found that travel has helped us gain a perspective on the environment and its stewardship and have integrated this throughout our posts and philosophy.

We encourage everyone to share their own experiences publicly, whether it is about plants, the weather, rocks, waterways, their commute to work, etc, and bring to the world something that is ground down to its core importance and displayed like a Christmas tree for all of the world to enjoy.

This year our posts have not been as frequent as we have been focusing our free time on concerns regarding the rehabilitation of Viola Street in West Philadelphia, helping to stabilize this beautiful block of Victorian rowhouses.

However, The Sanguine Root persists vibrantly and we will continue to post pictures , essays, thoughts and whatever else catches our fancy! Please stay in touch and we are on facebook where we often liveblog about Morris park often on a weekly or daily basis.

Its been a great 4 years and thank you for all of you who have stayed with us and do look forward to more fresh material!

Upcoming we have a time -lapse showpiece that we are working on right now, a camera taking a picture of the forest in Morris Park every hour and a half and has been since early September, this should make for an interesting video!


Wednesday, August 8th, 2012

Today, the adventure was to find Lobelia cardinalis, the Red Lobelia or Cardinal Flower, just growing in its natural habitat, perhaps along the banks of the Schuylkill River, where it has yet to be found. We set out to Valley Forge Historical Park, a little bit upstream from Philadelphia, where there is a great 3 mile long river path on the north side of the river just off of Trooper Road.  There is a boat launch, plenty of parking, bathrooms, signs and trails.   No Lobelia was spotted. There were lots of invasives, such as Purple Loosestrife, Japanese stiltgrass, Wineberry and Oriental Bittersweet.  The trail offered great views of the Schuylkill, with lots of Birds, including the Great Blue Heron.

Silver Maple, Valley Forge park, Pennsylvania

Silver Maple, Valley Forge park, Pennsylvania

(Acer saccharinum)

The Silver Maples just growing alongside the river was the real show. What a magnificent assortment of specimens growing in their native and natural habitat.

Silver Maple, Valley Forge park, Pennsylvania

Silver Maple, Valley Forge park, Pennsylvania

During the Revolutionary War, this exact spot was a hustle and bustle of barrels and provisions.

Silver Maple, Valley Forge park, Pennsylvania

Silver Maple, Valley Forge park, Pennsylvania

Now it is a place where trees grow and die, often falling into the river. A place where Bluebells bloom in the spring and people walk and jog.

The Silver Maple is a fast growing tree, reaching 25 feet in 10 years.  It has an aggressive root system, a much needed trait alongside a river that fluctuates in depth, often eroding its banks. It will grow sideways if need be.  It dies in the water, along with Sycamore, River Birch and Box Elder.

Silver Maple, Valley Forge park, Pennsylvania

Silver Maple, Valley Forge park, Pennsylvania

Above is the habitat of the Silver Maple, along the Schuylkill River at Valley Forge Park, Just north of Philadelphia.