Sunday, May 29, 2016

Mangan Woods blossoms with spring: A photo essay

Mangan Woods is located between Whitnall Park and the Root River Parkway in Greendale. This lovely park is worth visiting any time of the year due to the healthy stands of mature hardwoods, like this giant maple.

But spring is a particularly lovely time because of the remarkable wealth of wildflowers. Stay on the (well-trodden) paths because a stray step is likely to crush a beautiful flower.

Along with the common white trillium, Mangan boasts the rarer and more delicate red trillium, here nestled among sedge.

There were some patches of enormous may apples...

the blossoms of which are usually hard to see without groveling on the ground--although I found my iPhone a handy way to capture a ground-level view.

There is a lot of scurrying through the underbrush. The creatures mostly stayed out of sight, but this toad held still just long enough.

I hadn't been to Mangan for at least a few years. Since then, sadly, garlic mustard has taken over large swaths of the more open areas. I also found it popping up here and there in the deeper sections of the forest.

Here a Virginia waterlily is entwined in garlic mustard.

This is a lovely-looking specimen of Dame's rocket...

until you look around and see that it, too, is aggressively invasive.

I also happened upon a more unusual alien species the day I was there. Nonbox, a Milwaukee ad agency, was filming a commercial for Shield, a huge outdoor sporting goods company.

I came knowing that I was likely to find Jack in the pulpit blossoming this time of year, having seen them before...

but I was completely caught by surprise at the sheer number of them, in open, sun-drenched places...

and also in the shadowy parts of the deep forest.

Not only did I see more Jacks in the pulpit than in any other place I can recall, but also the largest ones, which reached nearly to knee-level.

Mangan Woods, a dramatic and subtle place. I hope to return more often in the future.