Wednesday, May 20, 2015

A Celebration of Water, II

My previous post included views of three local lakes.  The water in a lake is obvious.  What is not so obvious is ground water.  Unless you're a well driller or a hydrologist, you may not be in the habit of noticing above-ground symptoms of water beneath the surface.  The above photo is of a dense patch of Lemmon's Wild Ginger growing in a creek bed on the FRC campus.  There's no visible water flowing in the creek bed, but there must be plenty just beneath the surface to support the ginger as well as lots of Corn Lilies, ferns, and White Alder. 
This close-up of the ginger leaves shows how the flowers, which grow out of the bases of the stems, are completely hidden unless one parts the leaves.
I parted nearly every pair of leaves and found fresh-looking flowers blooming on nearly every plant.
Across the paved walkway from the patch of ginger is a ditch in which the creek has been confined in order to build the large playing field we call the "lower green."  The ditch has a slightly visible flow of surface water.  Enough to support a dense crop of aquatic buttercups, Horsetails, various sedges, and Forget-Me-Nots.
At the edges of the creek bed (ditch) are Deerbrush, and on this damp morning there was plenty of dew on the leaves.
There is a rock missing from the large stone fireplace near the Campus Center, and it took very little dirt and water for the cavity to sprout a healthy-looking patch of Burr Clover.  This "weed" is a close relative of Alfalfa.  With graduation coming in a couple of days, I figure the weed eaters will discover it and eat it. 
Looking across the expanse of grass known as the green, one sees a patch of Black Cottonwood, a definite sign of water just below of the surface.  This looks to me like the path the creek used to take and is intent on using again.  For now, it's a stand-off.  We keep mowing, killing gophers, and maintaining the "integrity" of the ditches that keep the water flowing down either side of the campus when it wants to meander down the middle.
Pointless to try to mow between the cottonwoods, so it makes for a nice little wild area where various wildflowers grow, insects visit, deer graze, and birds hide.

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