A Flowering Jewel in the Center of the Greenbelt
by Richard Buegler
When the New York City Department of Environmental Protection rebuilt the Meisner Avenue Bridge over Richmond Creek and constructed a stone dam at the foot of Lighthouse Hill, the impounded flood waters near Rockland Avenue created an enlarged retention pond system. The most impressive aspect of the new facility is the native vegetation, abloom throughout the seasons in this re-born pond-stream complex. The project was named “BMP8,” which stands for “Best Management Plan 8.”
I first noticed it last fall when I was delighted by the clumps of purple and white native asters blooming along the sidewalk. I couldn’t wait until spring because among the many trees and shrubs, I recognized two beauties of our eastern woodlands – American Dogwood and Pinxter Azalea. Many of them are now well established in their new home in Egbertville Ravine, having weathered last winter well.
The summer brought full flowering – hundreds of perennial wetland wildflowers of such a wide variety that I keep returning to see what else was growing. Some were old friend but others I had not seen before, including, blue monkey flower, yellow-green ditch stonecrop, white and red swamp mallow, pink Joe-Pye weed, purple ironweed, yellow sneezeweed, white arrowhead, and yellow partridge pea.
It is such a well reconstructed wetland that bull frogs and green frogs are calling from the shadows. Mallard ducks are enjoying the scenery ad sandpipers fly about to feed on soft mud flats. Monarch butterflies are tiger and black swallowtails dart about, feeling on the blooms’ nectar and pollen. Deep down a wetland trail on of the nicest surprises was a grouping of cardinal flowers with spikes of crimson blooms forming a three foot tall tower in the wooded wetland.
I never lacked for companions who wish to visit and see what grows in Egbertville Ravine.