Saturday, July 20, 2013

Jeptha Lake Fen, Paw Paw Prairie Fen

June 2013 Jeptha Lake Fen east of Breedsville in Van Buren County, Michigan
 Jeptha Lake Fen
In June my sister, Marie, took me on an extra adventure for my birthday.  One of the places we visited was Jeptha Lake Fen in Columbia Township, Van Buren County, Michigan. (49 acres).

On a side note:
My sister, Sugar, sent me a birthday card.  The same birthday card she sent 35 years ago.  When she sent it 35 years ago, she forgot to sign it and on the envelope she wrote "To My Sister".  Well, of course, the next year I sent it to her for her birthday since it had no name on it.  That's how it started and has gone on for 35 years now.

Now back to the adventure at Jeptha Lake Fen...
"Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy acquired this preserve in an effort to protect the high quality wetlands found along the shores of Upper and Lower Jeptha Lakes.  The high alkalinity and low nutrients of the spring fed fens support showy and unusual wildflowers such as pitcher plants and marsh blazing stars.  A boardwalk allows visitors close-up views of this wetland system preventing wet feet while protecting the fragile soils of the fen. In addition to fens, this preserve has a narrow strip of rich wet forest and large old fields with seasonal pools that are home to a variety of wildlife, including some unusual grassland birds such as bobolinks and savanna sparrows.  In all, 148 species of wildflowers, 97 species of birds, 26 species of butterflies, eight species of frogs, and all sorts of other wildlife and plants have been found at Jeptha Lake Fen."
Here is what we saw...


Jeptha Lake

We also made a visit to Paw Paw Prairie Fen Preserve east of Lawton, Van Buren  County, Michigan.

Also we stopped in the middle of a four county convergence! 

Portal View looking east - driving on
County Line Road -Z Avenue.

Wow!  There it is - four counties coming together at one point.
The four counties- clockwise starting at the left -
St Joseph, Cass, Van Buren, Kalamazoo. 
Marie was especially excited about this.
A fun day.


Anonymous said...

A belated Happy Birthday! Both of these places look inviting, maybe I'll make to one or both someday. Thanks for the preview!

New Hampshire Gardener said...

Happy birthday! With all those wildflowers there I'd like to visit at least once each month to see what is blooming. It sounds like it would be a good home for orchids.

Plants Amaze Me said...

Thanks, Jerry. Jeptha is a nice place, a little hard to find though.
There is an Upper Jeptha Lake access and we stopped there. You know how some lake access sites can be quite interesting.

Paw Paw Prairie Fen owned by Nature Conservancy is a bit of a drive (180 mile round trip) even though I appreciate these free to us places, we have so many places closer to us that are even more interesting. There was a sign saying this place was monitored by cameras and shortly after we arrived a NC truck came driving through the place. It might have been a coincidence, and it is their property but I felt like I was doing something wrong, a little bit.

Plants Amaze Me said...

Thanks, Allen. I've often thought I would like to include a list of the flowers we see each trip. Marie does note all of that, and sometimes she shares her notes. But that takes time, and the flowers are out there waiting to be admired.
My husband and I just took a walk at Riverside Park, and I was trying to take a picture of each flower I saw blooming. You would think that is an easy thing to do but it really isn't. We saw easily 50 different plants blooming on that two mile walk. From Hare Figwort, Tall Bellflower, Woodland Sunflower, Flowering Spurge, nettles, several mints, vervains (white, blue, hoary), loosestrife (purple, whorled), Soapwort, hawkweed, pea, vetch, on and on. We saw a Queen Anne's Lace that was 7 feet tall, and a White Sweet Clover that was 9 feet tall!
There is always something to see. :)

Mike said...

Happy Birthday! Love the story about the card. The photo of the Foxglove Beardtongue is great.

We have been finding and photographing some interesting small blossoms lately - Downy Wood Mint, White Avens, Yellow Avens, Broad-leaved Arrowhead, Wild Leek, Tall Hairy Agrimony, Marsh Bellflower, Grove Sandwort, Spreading Dogbane, Marsh Vetchling, Water Speedwell, Swamp Fly-honeysuckle, Fragrant Bedstraw...

Butterfly Weed, Bergamot and Hoary Vervain blooming profusely. we haven't had much rain and it is very dry. Those plants seem to be pretty drought resistant.

we are headed south today for the first time in a month. Maybe we will see you on the trail! :)

Plants Amaze Me said...

Hey Mike Thanks. That card and keeping track of it for 35 years!

It has been mostly hot and dry here, we have had an occasional shower. I like your list of flowers, sounds like the same flowers we are seeing. I am going to try to include a list, of the flowers I see, on the posts soon. Yesterday Marie and I saw 67 different blooming wildflowers! We found three beautiful Purple Fringed Orchid in some swampy woods in Allegan County. Such fun!

Go luck in the south and be sure to let us know what you find. See you on the trail.