Sunday, January 15, 2012

Wildwood Rocks!

I have always admired the limestone/dolomite tufa cliffs at the Main Street entrance to Wildwood Park.
The slowly dripping water has left deposits and formations on the rocks' surfaces much like those that 
would be found inside a cave.

Wintertime adds a beautiful draping of ice sculpture that changes as the air
cools and warms, causing the ice to melt and refreeze.

One day recently, when I was wandering with my camera, I climbed the steps
behind the Wildwood Park sign and noticed a small opening in an outcrop. 

Taking a closer look at the rocks, I saw that there were very slender pieces of rock
sticking out that were perpendicular to the horizontal limestone layers. 

I showed the photo to my geologist friend, Bob Whisonant, and he told me that the 
narrow strips of rock are called bacon strips (Isn't that a descriptive name!) and that they are caused by calcium carbonate precipitating out from the limestone.
Wildwood rocks!

December Flowers?

I certainly was surprised one day in December to see a small bit of purple peeking out from a plant beside the Bike Path. I knelt down for a closer look -
I saw a green plant!

  And yes, it had a very small flower with four lavender petals.
And no, I wasn't supposed to see that in December!

I made sure to get pictures of its leaves and stems so that I could try to identify it.

I finally decided that it was a flower called Dame's Rocket (Hesperis matromalis), and it is usually is a summer flower! However, it is a member of the Mustard Family, and those are hardy souls. The warmer than usual temperatures in November and December must have fooled it! It also may have had 
some protection from the fallen tree branch under which it was growing.

It has continued to survive through some cold snaps into January.
Several more of its buds have opened with encouragement from sunny days.
It is another one of Wildwood's wonderful surprises!