As July ends and August begins, the grove here at Rhododendron State Park is just about finished with this year’s flowers. A few blossoms here and there may be seen still, but any of this season’s flower buds (even the latest ones) have opened up. There won’t be any more new blooms until next summer (somebody will find one just to prove me wrong, but that’s ok – I’m used to it – being wrong, that is).
Mid-summer at the grove is usually a bit cooler (relatively, anyway) and more moist than the surrounding area – mainly a result of the deep shade that is provided by the large White Pines and Eastern Hemlocks that thrive in the acidic soil, not to mention the wet “boggy” condition of the ground. This is a fine example of a fragile ecosystem that is heavily dependent on a real lack of disturbance. It might be a challenge for the grove to survive the loss of deep shade that the hemlock trees provide if they are beset by the Woolly Adelgid – a small but economically important insect that has proven lethal to many Eastern Hemlock trees. The questions remain: Will the insect arrive? Or when? What might it’s impact be? There are a few theories and opinions about this issue and how it ties into other current environmental factors. This is a great opportunity for me to keep my opinions to myself. I will try to do so (it’s kind of too late for that already. Oh well.).
Enough rambling – this week I have included some more plant pictures as well as some other features that are found at Rhododendron State Park.
Remember to be prepared for biting insects at the grove-they do like that moist shade.