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! 

Trees along the Schuylkill River, Philadelphia

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!