Soup & Walk Sep 18, 2010

This was a perfect fall day with lots of sunshine, temps in the 80’s and cool nights. The tent was set up for the Magic in the Meadow which only added magic to our walk around the meadow. Nancy Beatty, our very knowledgeable docent, led the walk. We had 20 guests and 3 more volunteers on the walk. It was a large group but with the amplifier we were all able to hear Nancy’s explanations.

The theme was “See the sunny meadows with the golden brown and purple grasses and the many yellow and white flowers. We took the long loop going left from the visitor’s center and passing the children’s’ garden and the nursery on our walk and returning at the other end of the South meadow back to the visitors center. Opportunities to volunteer and the volunteer luncheon next Tues was talked about. Some said they would come.

The meadow sported some beautiful Indian grass, switch grass, big bluestem, purple top, little bluestem, purple love grass, and foxtail. All were interested in the differences in the grasses. Mention was made of some interest in using switch grass as a fuel source. Among the flowers we saw were the white pearly everlasting, yellow perennial sunflowers, yellow sundrops, and lots of different kinds of yellow goldenrod. The goldenrod was the most showy and the most prominent. The milkweed pods were in evidence as well as some busy milkweed bugs worthy of a camera shot.

Nancy was able to point out some of the invasives that we have to deal with such as the oriental bittersweet, bull and Canadian thistle. Ragweed, mares tail, and lespedeza are also nuisances.

The sumac has wonderful red berries which supplied vitamin C to the early colonists and their leaves have fed the lemurs at the Baltimore zoo. The winged or shiny sumac was very shiny in the sun and some had the red leaves of autumn. Speaking of red, many guests were impressed by the pokeweed and its lovely red stems. Nancy mentioned that she liked it and another in the group said she did too. It was carefully noted that you need a large area for this rather aggressive native plant. Some sassafras berries were showing but the showiest berries were the devil’s walking stick. Wild grapes looked luscious on the vines.

After an hour’s walk we entered the visitor’s center for a tasty lunch in a wonderfully decorated room by Mickey B. The menu had lots of grains even an ancient grain bread. We gave away samples of amaranth and quinoa to each table for someone to take home and bake some bread. There were also some hearts-a-burstin berries to take home and plant that came from my bush. The kale in the soup was a reminder that kale is a wonderful fall garden crop that can be planted now. Lastly the butternut pie baked by Shirley B and Zaida W was a big hit and a wonderful way to get kids to eat their vegetables. Everyone seemed to be having a great time and many plan to come again. One guest from Colorado said she could not but would buy the cookbook to try more of this kind of cooking.

The rest of the volunteers not mentioned above were Norma E, and Janet H, who along with the others helped with the setup and cleanup. This is a wonderful event and I enjoyed it immensely. It is only possible through the hard work of staff and volunteers and it is great to have this chance to show off our Adkins Arboretum.
Thanks everyone, Julianna

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