by Melanie and Jim
After our early morning breakfast, we drove across town to Ryerson’s Woods. It was acquired by Iowa City in 1985. The park has about 50 acres and includes less than a mile of trails. Last time we visited was in mosquito season. We got a short distance into the trees and ran back to the car with several bites each. This time there were no mosquitoes.
We met two men and their dogs who were on the way out. The men were chatty. One dog reminded us of the Good Dog, Carl. The children’s book series about Carl is wonderful. We saw only two other people from afar.
There is a bit of up and down in the park, but the trail is well maintained with mulch under foot. Clean-up of fallen trees needs to be done in a few places, but the path was only blocked in one spot, and we climbed over easily.
As the park name implies, it is a wooded site. The ground vegetation struggles in many places to capture sunlight. Even so, it is lush and dense with green, as well as with wildflowers.
We saw a lot of Jack-in-the-pulpit Arisaema triphyllum plants in many different sizes. Most were about a foot tall. There were a few two feet tall and shaded a red color.
There were May Apples Podophyllum peltatum all over the place. Many had beautiful flowers under the broad leaves. The flowers were about two inches wide. The plants are a little more than a foot tall. We had to pull back leaves to get these pictures.
This White Baneberry Actaea pachypoda was growing on a hillside in dim lighting. Some camera shake blurred it. But the Wild Geranium Geranium maculatum posed gracefully together in sunlight. Thanks you two.
The author of Bleeding Heartland has a series called Wildflower Wednesdays. She posted information on Virginia Waterleaf Hydrophyllum virginianum. Description of habitat for these flowers matches the habitat where we found this one. It prefers partial sun to light shade, moist to dry-mesic conditions, and a rich loamy soil with decaying leaves.
When we finished the short loop trail, we considered for a moment turning around and taking it the other direction. However other plans for the day took priority. We left with a more pleasant memory of the park than the mosquitoes, and a very good beginning to the day.