The Fen, Late Summer

A unique ecosystem, a gem. Fen-only plants and flowers along with what’s found in Illinois elsewhere. I don’t know the name of these plants and flowers, but I do know:

The colors have changed since we last visited. More reds, blues, purples.

We need rain. Toads looked too dry and searching for water.

All around us we heard skittering animals. Didn’t see them. Just heard hints of animal life.

The red winged blackbirds are no longer dive bombing from behind as we walked. Their wee birds must have flown the nests.

Next visit: early autumn.

Thanks for reading.

Prairie Walk and Illinois Prairie Wildflowers

This photo I took in the prairie today:  (See also: https://wordpress.com/read/blogs/146854985/posts/606)

 

rosinweed native illinois prairie wildflowers
Rosinweed, Illinois prairie wildflower

Photos by Dr. John Hilty, Illinois Wildflowers, Illinois Wildflowers

 

And these from the University of Illinois: Illinois Wildflowers from the University of Illinois

 

 

 

An Accidental Troll Hunt

35076989_10155572027678499_6537897654326657024_n          I went in search of flowers today, but had a flat tire and could not make it to the Chicago Botanic Garden in time.  Tire fixed, headed to the Morton Arboretum for a quick woodland walk, and found a troll.  There are six altogether, and I saw one.

The Morton Arboretum (look here for more details and more pictures) is sponsoring a “troll hunt” over next year.  Danish sculptor Thomas Dambo (see Thomas Dambo Sculptures) and his team build trolls around the Arboretum using “reclaimed” wood only, wood from trees downed by storms, etc.

I have to wonder WHERE these huge wooden sculptures will go after the summer of 2019.  I cannot imagine anyone having a home large enough for them! Will they go to a new forest?  Where will they go?

These are a few photos I was able to take before the rain started.

Always fun to find a troll.

 

The Fen, late spring–and what’s a fen?

Who walks in the fen when it’s raining? The Big Guy and I do. Peaceful. Beautiful. Today is cloudy, so the leaves are not in a riot of sunshine, but they are lovely.  The raindrops glowed on the leaves, hard to see from cell phone photos.

Nonetheless, the fen is an interesting and often  lovely walk.

 

What is a fen? Definition of fen

While a wetland, a fen is not a bog, swamp, or marsh.  So what is a fen?

It is an unusual wetland; The US Dept. of agriculture defines a fen as:

Fens are a type of wetland. Wetlands are ecosystems where the water table is at or near the ground surface for most of the growing season on most years, and as a consequence, the substrate is poorly aerated, and inundation or saturation last long enough that the dominant plants are those that can exist in wet and reducing conditions. The long duration anaerobic conditions limit the decomposition of plant roots, leaves, and stems and over time this organic matter accumulates to form peat soil. Wetlands include the margins of streams and rivers, and the shores of lakes. There are several types of wetlands: swamps, marshes, bogs, and fens.

 

Furthermore, there are a number of types of fens, and described here: Types of Fens. Furthermore, there are both rich fens and poor fens.  Scientists are beginning to determine the age of fens, and since peat accumulates slowly, fens are being determined to be thousands of years old, as discussed here: Age of fens

 

In our many years of walking here, we know the fen as the place of interesting plants.