Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Wild Columbine at Cedar Bog Nature Preserve

Spring wildflowers at Cedar Bog Nature Preserve
Last Saturday I headed up to Cedar Bog Nature Preserve in Urbana, Ohio with my friend, Teri. I wanted to photograph the beautiful spring ephemerals, and Teri was starting to gather data for her doctoral thesis. I really didn't know what to expect. The only thing I knew about Cedar Bog was that it was a fen...not a bog and many rare plants thrived there. It didn't take me long, however, to find out Cedar Bog is incredible. Huge Skunk Cabbages spread out from the boardwalk that snakes through the fen, and as you walk into the woods it feels like you're walking through an ancient land. I joked with Teri that we should look out for Sleestaks because it felt like we had stumbled into the Land of the Lost...and it really wasn't that far from the truth. According to Eric Doerzbacher, the site manager, some the skunk cabbages we walked past were well over 1,000 years old.

A leaf of a Skunk Cabbage drips with water from an earlier downpour.

Cedar Bog is another of Ohio's natural anomalies. Complements of the retreating mile-high glacier of the continental Wisconsin glaciation (12,000 - 18,000 years ago), Cedar Bog has its own microclimate. Just like Clifton Gorge to the south, boreal relics, such as the White Cedar (arbor vitae), can survive here because of the cooler temperatures that mimic the north. (Click here for a post about the microclimate at Clifton Gorge.) In an article in The Ohio Journal of Science, March, 1974, Clara May Frederick writes,
"Microclimatic data recorded from 1963 through 1969 demonstrate that Cedar Bog has cooler temperatures and a shorter frost-free period than do adjoining areas. These two factors have resulted in the survival of plants unique to this part of Ohio." (Click here for a link to a pdf of the entire article. It was very interesting.)

The fen is fed by cold artesian waters that bubble to the surface with an average temperature 0f 53 - 55 degrees F. As you walk the boardwalk and look below, you can see the water is flowing--in some places it is more noticeable than others, but you can definitely tell it's not stagnant. "Fens flush" is a common theme on signs posted throughout the preserve that explain what is going on. The constant supply of fresh, cool ground water creates a cool, northern-like microclimate, which has allowed the relic boreal plants to grow here for so many thousands of years since the glacier's retreat.

A few of the many signs posted along the boardwalk.

I have a lot of cool photos of the spring wildflowers we found along the boardwalk. I'll start with these Wild Columbine. The Columbine grew along the boardwalk near the central area of the preserve flanking the clear waters of the west branch of Cedar Run creek.





For a slightly different view, I wanted to see how the columbine photographed from below.

...underneath a Wild Columbine blossom, looking up into the flower.

The light shining through the thin, silky petals from above illuminated the inside of the flower like sun through stained glass.

I would never have guessed such interesting shapes and colors could be seen from underneath the blossom. The skies were grey above, but bright, and the brightness coaxed out the incredible pinks and greens.

...green veining and a glowing pink interior show another view of the beautiful Wild Columbine.

Cedar Bog is about 1.5 hours north of Cincy, and is definitely worth the drive. I saw so many beautiful spring wildflowers there. I want to go back for the next round of bloomers! Here are a few links to Cedar Bog if you want to make the trip:

38 comments:

Greener Bangalore said...

I liked that leaf picture and the fourth snap too!

Caroline said...

Your Columbine photos are gorgeous - beatuiful colours and interesting shapes indeed!

Laure Ferlita said...

Love the abstraction of the images! Thanks for introducing me to yet another beautiful world!

Kyna said...

Great photos! I love Columbine :D

JKoenig said...

Very intersting blog. We have a lot of Skunk Cabbage in our valley here too which also came about because of glaciers many years ago.

The columbine is beatiful. I know they grow wild in Colorado, but I didn't know they grew wild around this part of the country. That last picture looks like something from a kalidascope.

DK Miller said...

Beautiful photos! It looks like a lovely place.

Adrienne in Ohio said...

I took a field trip with my ecology professor to this place years ago. I had forgotten about it until I read your post. It would take me about 3 hours to get there now, but I think I need to plan a trip.

Columbine is one of my favorite spring wildflowers, and you have captured it stunningly!

Busy Bee Suz said...

What an interesting place to visit.
LOVE those photos of the Columbine.

grammie g said...

Really great how you showed all the different images of the plant!!! It is so interesting to see what makes the beauty of the columbine!! Your photos captured it well!! Thanks for the botanical trip!!

Roy said...

Interesting! And it looks like you've been playing with the macro lens again. Good work!

Vickie said...

These are gorgeous images, Kelly! I love Columbine and you give them even great magic!

Sarah Knight said...

That looks wonderful! We live across the highway from a fen; amusingly it is simply known as "the fen." Clearly our area aren't known for their creative naming skills...

Love the photos of the columbine, so very beautiful!

Roy said...

Beautiful flowers and beautiful photos Kelly.

Teri C said...

Your photos are always wowzers! Gorgeous and wonderful and beautiful and inspirational!!!

Cicero Sings said...

Beautiful pictures of the Columbine! What an interesting place to visit.

Heather said...

Such lovely photos, Kelly! I'm jealous of your trip to Cedar Bog. This was always a popular field trip for the science classes at my high school (Springfield's not too far from Urbana), but somehow I was never in the right science class, so I never got to go!! One of these days I will get there, though. Hey, I get to go to Clear Creek this Saturday for my OCVN class. If the weather's nice, I'll stick around for a bit after class to do some birding and photographing. Now... where is all that extra time you and I need to tap into?!

holdingmoments said...

I saw that first picture of the columbine, and thought wow. Then they just got better. Amazing shots Kelly. All of them.

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Hi Kelly, What an interesting place you visited. Now I know the difference between a bog and a fen... Thanks, Kel!

Love the pictures of the Columbine also--especially from below the flowers.

Hugs,
Betsy

Roberta said...

Gorgeous photos from the Columbine. Still waiting for flowers here - your images make me impatient!

Out on the prairie said...

Really nice protected area. One fen I visit has similar background and is like walking on a matress when looking at new growth. A remarkable flower to find in these areas is a Ladies-Slipper orchid which I would love to see you illustrate.These like the skunk cabbage, have a long life, up to 100 years.Check to find out if they have them, a worthwhile find.

Elaine said...

What a great field trip! The skunk cabbage photo is beautiful, and the columbine shots are outstanding. I have wild columbine planted on the north side of my house, and they are always the first plant to start popping up in the spring. It will still be a little while until they bloom though. I love the different perspective you got by photographing from below. Exquisite!

Debbie Miller @HooootOwl said...

Stunning photos of the columbine blossoms.

Montanagirl said...

Stunning shots of the wildflowers! Just absolutely breath-taking. Very interesting post.

rebeccainthewoods said...

I really need to make it up there (this weekend, perhaps)! We have columbine blooming here as well, what gorgeous plants. Also just found my first shooting stars today.

Robin Robinson said...

The Columbine shots are lovely. We also have that wild one here in Maine. I once dug up a Skunk cabbage and planted it in my garden. I thought there was a tremendous negative bias against this wonderful plant, very under rated as a garden plant. Heck, NON RATED!

Jean said...

Outstanding photos! What a great Blog!!!

Andor Marton said...

Great photos and nice colors - a pretty unusual post from you. I really like the 4th picture and the last 3 - quite abstract and beautiful.

Jayne said...

Those are amazing Kelly! Sooooo pretty!

Jenny said...

I love the descriptions of some of the places you get to visit, it makes me want to go there. It's a shame I'm several thousand miles away! Fabulous shots of the Columbines.

Shelley said...

YOu really outdid yourself w/ these photos! That first leaf photo was gorgeous - loved examining the detail on it!

Kelly said...

...thanks, everyone! Weren't those shots from underneath wild? I'm loving this macro lens and am seeing so many new things with it!

Mary said...

Wow...gorgeous macro shots! They are so pretty and the colors really show off in your photos.

Hilke Breder said...

Beautiful capture of one of my favorite spring flowers! and the gorgeous close-ups leave me searching for words. You have such an eye for expressive colors and shapes!

dreamfalcon said...

wonderful makros!

Elvira said...

Amazing pictures! Greetings from Barcelona!

dAwN said...

Oh weee..I love those two last photos!!

E said...

I came back to see the flowers and enjoy them, so lovely and peaceful, Kelly, thanks for sharing. Hugs to all.

Susan W. said...

Stunning! Every photo is a work of art! Thank you!