Tuesday morning was so beautiful I kept driving after I dropped the kid at school. Ended up at my favorite magnet: Couchville Cedar Glade.
I’d heard the prickly pear was blooming. It was, but luckily not nearly at its peak, which means we’ve all got time to go see desert roses.
Tennessee coneflower is starting—saw four or five—but the mini golden prairies of Small’s ragwort are still in full bloom.
Compared to the everywhere ragwort, there are smaller or more secretive things here and there: stuff you have to look for. Like the Post oak acorn babies as small as BBs, and the male and female persimmon flowers in the parking lot, and the Eastern fence lizard on the footbridge.
But even if you don’t know where to look or what to look for, you are in a cedar glade, and everything is worthwhile. Under your feet are fossils. Out of sight are insects and birds making appropriate noises. Step on glade savory and your path is perfume. You’ve got shady woods, blinding glades and grassy barrens all in a one-mile loop.
And you’ve got lots of ticks, too, so bring a lint-roller. . .
While kneeling in a patch of Gattinger’s prairie clover (rub the foliage: it smells marvelous), I made an ID completely unexpected: our neighbor, walking toward me on the trail. We’ve never chatted, but I recognized him. His house is on our daily route, and our dogs pretend not to see one another unless forced by traffic to pass on the sidewalk. Turns out, he comes to Couchville every week to see what’s what. Every week. A 30 minute drive. He must have backed out of his driveway 10 minutes after I left mine. No camera, but the binoculars indicated a birder. Clearly, next time our dogs meet, we need to meet, too.
By the way, some Tennessee Natural Heritage staff have organized a bioblitz here Saturday, May 28, and all are welcome to join.
Some Couchville flowers and fruits from Tuesday:
*The pretty grass turned out to be something I have in the yard: a European bunchgrass called Dactylis glomerata. Thank you to Chris Fleming who identified it for me at Couchville a few days later, and to Claire Brown who ID’d it from my photo! It’s nice to know real botanists…
Last winter’s post about Couchville Cedar Glade
Couchville Cedar Glade State Natural Area (link at TN Division of Natural Areas)