Sunday, June 14, 2009
The Banks are Back in Bloom
Now that's more like it! The water level on the Hudson River has fallen enough that flowers can start to bloom. Ten days ago these Larger Blue Flags were up to their necks, just holding on for dear life as the torrents tore past them. But now they can breathe again and spend their energy making blooms, which they did today in profusion. A sight to behold! Masses and masses of them, all along the banks, their splendid purple mirrored in the still pools.
Also in bloom today were bright yellow Small Sundrops, a smaller, daintier version of Evening Primrose, to whose family they belong.
Interspersed with the Sundrops were perky little blue stars of Blue-eyed Grass, a miniature member of the Iris Family. Both of these plants were way under water last week, but they're making up for lost time now, blooming as fast as they can wherever they find a place along the banks.
It astounds me how plants find a way to root in the rocks. On Rippled Rocks Point, the rocky bank rises up from the water in a sheer vertical wall. And wherever there's a crack or a seam, some flower has found a foothold. There's a single line of Marsh St. Johnswort marching along the rockface, a solitary plant of Wild Thyme curling its stems to fit the contours of the stone, and one stalwart Tall Meadow Rue rising straight up from a mini-ledge where, viewed from the surface of the river below, its puff of white blossoms floats like a cloud against the blue sky.
But the champion plant for finding its niche everywhere is Golden Hedge Hyssop. It won't bloom for a month, but already its bright yellow-green leaves are crowding every crack and crevice it can find. This plant, with its small yellow trumpet-shaped blooms, just carpets the banks and colonizes every nook and cranny of the rocks. When it's in bloom, the river glows golden along its banks, the floral profusion extending even under the water.
The yellow-green leaves of Golden Hedge Hyssop are emerging now in every crack and crevice. I see some grass and one little Boneset plant have also found a foothold there.