Archive for September 2nd, 2011

THE HAPPY PLACE: JEWELWEED REACHES PEAK BLOOM IN FAIRMOUNT PARK

Friday, September 2nd, 2011

BLOOMING JEWELWEED HAS BECOME THE MAIN ATTRACTION FOR A VARIETY OF SPECIES IN THE HORTICULTURAL CENTER IN WEST FAIRMOUNT PARK. THESE SPECIES ARE  A-BUZZ  OVER THE JEWELWEED.  SOME HAVE FLOWN THOUSANDS OF MILES. THE JEWELWEED HAPPY PLACE IS THE PLACE TO BEE.   

Jewelweed, Impatiens capensis, reaches peak bloom in Fairmount Park's Horticultural Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Jewelweed, Impatiens capensis, reaches peak bloom in Fairmount Park's Horticultural Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

An ant has taken interest in the capensis flower. There were a variety of insects buzzing about, bees of various sizes, a grasshopper and a Spicebush swallowtail butterfly.   The trip to the Horticultural Center was made specifically to visit this large and memorable colony of Jewelweed.

Jewelweed, Impatiens capensis, reaches peak bloom in Fairmount Park's Horticultural Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Jewelweed, Impatiens capensis, reaches peak bloom in Fairmount Park's Horticultural Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The day has finally come.  The flowering has peaked, with thousands of flowers, as far as the eye can see. The nature of the plant, with its delicate stems and rapid growth are reminiscent of a spring wildflower, such as Mertensia virginiana, the Virginia Bluebells.  This plant is as impressive and it conjures the same fascination. The shape of the flower is truly elegant, and this elegance is further enhanced by the way it hangs from such a thin, wiry stem.

Jewelweed, Impatiens capensis, reaches peak bloom in Fairmount Park's Horticultural Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Jewelweed, Impatiens capensis, reaches peak bloom in Fairmount Park's Horticultural Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The colors are very attractive.  The red dots are most likely the selling point for the Hummingbirds. There was a bumblebee tearing through the flowers, however there was a dog on a leash by the name of Keeba, pulling very hard on one arm of staff photographer Sean Solomon, making it very difficult to get the few photographs that were obtained.  Keeba was very interested in squirrels and had no interest in the Jewelweed .  However she did eat some Japanese stiltgrass, a nasty invasive exotic grass that is everywhere. Good Keeba.

Jewelweed, Impatiens capensis, reaches peak bloom in Fairmount Park's Horticultural Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Jewelweed, Impatiens capensis, reaches peak bloom in Fairmount Park's Horticultural Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Here one can perceive the amount of effort this plant goes to create a beautiful flower. This plant is very popular among many species.  How come this was not taught in school?  If any readers were taught about this plant in any formal setting, or for that matter, informally, please chime in with comments.

Jewelweed, Impatiens capensis, reaches peak bloom in Fairmount Park's Horticultural Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Jewelweed, Impatiens capensis, reaches peak bloom in Fairmount Park's Horticultural Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

This is a botanical world that should not be missed, overlooked or dismissed. This is the real deal, a native flower, one that has lived here for thousands of years, an ancient plant, one of exquisite beauty and habit, right in our midst!  To enjoy and appreciate this plant is to enjoy the entire months of July, August and September.  If you have ever wondered what Pennsylvania looked like 5000 years ago, along a stream, somewhere in Fairmount Park, or any moist, partly  or mostly shaded location in our fair state, this is it. This flower is our own history, growing before our eyes!