Thursday, August 11, 2016

Thursday Thirteen 426: Research Park Recreation Trails

Saturday morning before work, I walked a sort of new-to-me path. For weeks, I had noted that the bit of restored prairie by the West Transfer Point, which I travel through a few times a week, was filled with Queen Anne's Lace and something purple. From that vantage point though, one cannot tell what all that purple is. So, Saturday morning I left for work early, as I wanted to stop by the Sequoya Library used book sale first (first Saturday of every month at West Gate Mall). Because of how messed up some of the routes are, that meant I also had a half hour to kill before the book sale. So, I figured it was an opportune time to walk through that bit of prairie.

The Research Park Recreational Trails are comprised of one and a half acres, much greater than the small area I wandered through, extending all the way north to Mineral Point Rd and linking several different facilities. There are access points both east and west of the WTP on Tokay Blvd. I entered via the one just east of the Transfer Point, near the corner of Whitney Way (across from Walgreen's), and took the right fork. This meandered more or less east/northeast, eventually ending at the sidewalk on Whitney Way near Research Park Blvd. I turned left at that corner and walked west until I came to another entry point that led south back to the WTP. (Satellite map here -- you can see the bus depot at bottom, on Tokay Blvd, and section I am talking about bordered by Whitney and Research Park Blvds.)

It shouldn't surprise anyone that there was so much more to see than the naked eye could discern from any of the bordering streets. I was pleased to discover that the majority of the purple was wild bergomot, but there was also purple coneflowers, wild chicory, and thistle. There were also black-eyes susans, yellow coneflowers, compass plant, rattlesnake master, Canadian tick-trefoil, curly dock, spiderwort and so much more. I easily identified at least twenty different plants. The one thing I was surprised not to see was goldenrod, which has started to bloom. I will have to make a note to check out this area again later this month or sometime in September for asters or gentians.

Here are a few photos from my half hour walk.

Wild Bergamot and Yellow Coneflowers

Yellow Coneflowers


Wild Quinine

Black-Eyed Susans 

Compass Plant

Purple Coneflowers

Rattlesnake Master


Canadian Tick Trefoil

Milkweed Pods

St John's Wort

A broad view of Research Park Trails -- Whitney Way is to 
right of photo, Tokay Blvd behind me, Transfer Point to my left.

LINKING TO: Thursday Thirteen


sandyland said...

so much natural beauty !!loved this

Mia Celeste said...

Thanks. I love looking at the pictures you discover on your walks. :) I'm talking about one of my sight-seeing walks, today, too.

Ron. said...

Just the lovely workout I needed today. Thanks!

CountryDew said...

Your knowledge of wildflowers is impressive. I always have to look them up in my guide books.

Heather said...

Thanks, Sandy!

Mia: Thank you, this was a lovely and unexpected find. I never would have guessed so much was growing in there from the street view. Looking forward to your virtual journey!

Heather said...

Thanks, Ron-- glad you enjoyed!

Anita: I owe my knowledge primarily to years of attending the free Sunday guided nature walks at the Arboretum, supplemented by their Prairie Plants book. I did have to consult my book to figure out what one of these was, the Canadian Tick Trefoil. I knew I had seen it before, but could not think of the name. I just wish that book had an index by color!

Beth @ PlantPostings said...

How wonderful to see all these native plants growing in a busy area of town. I used to work near there, and I don't remember it being so full of wildflowers. Your photos are great!

colleen said...

I love these wild and native flowers. We have a lot of queen Anne's lace now too. and Ironweed, which is purple, and used to not bloom until September. We have about 4 different color varieties of bergamont on the Blue Ridge Parkway near my house.

Alice Audrey said...

It doesn't look like much on the map, but your pictures sure are nice.

Zippi Kit said...

Beautiful post. I'd heard about the prairie restoration projects but the tiny pockets like the one near you nearly never get recognition.
Riparian systems restoration is moving along, too. All of these works give those who care about the Earth a lot of hope. Thank you for blogging about this. Have a lovely weekend.

Heather said...

Thanks, Beth-- I never would have guessed there was so much blooming in there, either, and am glad I took the time to explore.

Colleen: I'm glad we have random wild pockets like this throughout the city, and hope more people take time to enjoy them. The wild bergamot here is predominantly purple, but every now and them I see a pocket of some that is burgundy.

Heather said...

Alice: Thank you, and nope -- from the map and the surrounding roads it doesn't look like much at all, but once you get down in there...

Zippi Kit: Thank you for visiting. I love that the city has these pockets of prairie restoration, as well as rain gardens to help deter erosion. There's a large restoration project along the shores of Brittingham Park where native plants have been planted to prevent erosion that is just lovely at different times of the year.