28 April 2010

Wine & Wetlands

I resolved this summer to visit many of the local sites and attractions that I have never visited. I guess that human nature is such that convenient nearby activities and diversions are not a high priority since the opportunity for a visit will always be there.

A leisurely Sunday was spent visiting a few Maryland attractions located less than an hour's drive away. A wine sampling at Friday's Creek winery lead to a stroll through its old tobacco barn art gallery. Afterwards, a hike ensued at Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary, and then a visit to Lower Marlboro Nursery, specializing in native species and run by a local women in her front yard.

The walk on the boardwalk at Jug Bay, along the tidal Patuxent River, yielded opportunities for bird spying on some winged friends not found in my neighborhood. Five osprey nests on platforms dotted the wetlands. Seven great blue herons foraged near each other. A group of palm warblers played in the trees on the old railroad bed trail. Bird watching friends brought along a scope to bring the birds closer.

The trails were filled in with a native rhododendron shrub in bloom, more appealing and delicate than the solid-color pink and fuchsia azaleas overpopulating every suburban garden in the area. A lookup on the internet revealed them as a Pinxter Azalea (Rhododendron periclymenoides (Michx.) Shinners). It likes wet areas, which explains why it was found in the shady spots around the shores of the wetlands. It is also supposed to be highly toxic to both humans and animals, leading one to believe it deer-proof.

The end of the wetlands trails wove along a beaver lodge, where red belly turtles were sunning themselves, perched on logs and rocks in the pond behind - 45 turtles in all. Orange-red coloring around the bottom of the shell with yellow and black tripes on the head were certainly not considered camouflage.

Garden Calendar:
  • Blooming: coreopsis, iris, allium

3 comments:

Jim/ArtofGardening said...
That Pinxter Azalea looks like fireworks, or some party favor from a birthday party.

Local sites do get overlooked. No one believes I haven't been to Niagara Falls in more than ten years, it's only fifteen miles away, it's like driving to a suburb.
Swimray said...
I have lived here for over 20 years and have never been to the Washington Monument - a mere 6 miles away.
Les said...
I wanted to stop by and thank you for commenting on my Iris post, I appreciate it. You are fortunate to have so many things to see near you, only if you feel like navigating the traffic.