Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens – June 2019

The plants that are the main attractions during  the June and July at Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens are the lotuses and the water lilies.

The lotuses were in full bloom in the later part of June when we visited but there weren’t many seed pods yet.

I also found a rolled-up lotus leaf that was interesting. The leaves are round, balancing on a central stem but they start out as a scroll like structure that unfolds. This one was still tightly coiled. I might use it as a prompt to create a Zentangle pattern.

 The water lilies did not seem as dense as they have in previous years and I wondered if the rains and cool temperatures earlier this summer impacted the water lily development.

The button bush was beginning to bloom; I didn’t notice any seed pods yet. There is a ways to go before all the flowers are pollinated…lots of bee activity.

Two trees stood out:

There was a group of developing pine codes high up in a pine near the entrance and

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Some shelf fungus growing around a knot (maybe where a branch had been). It looks a little like a bear face to me. I’d noticed it last year too. The shelf fungus look more cracked this year but they still have the orange underneath.

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I heard green frogs and searched the shallows from where the sound seemed to emanate….but never  saw the frog.

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A pearl crescent butterfly opened its wings as it sat in the grassy path and paused long enough for me to get a picture.

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We saw two different kinds of turtles (identified with the help of a reference from Maryland Department of Natural Resources): a small red-eared slider (not native to our area but invading) and

A large northern red-bellied cooter – which is native to our area. It was a large specimen. I wondered how long it had taken to get that big…about 12 inches.

Both ponds had a lot of algae and muck so the turtle shells looked grubby but the heads were vey distinctive…enough for the identification.

Overall – the field trip to Kenilworth was worthwhile and very enjoyable. We went in the morning before the day got too hot.

Dragonflies at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens

The lotuses and water lilies are blooming at Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens from late June into July. The wetlands are attractive to dragonflies too; I saw 5 different kinds when I went on a late June weekend. I found a good reference to help me identify them from Maryland’s Department of Natural Resources.

The first one we saw – and the most numerous – were the blue dashers. They like to perch on the vegetation in the lotus and water lily ponds.

Along the boardwalk out into the Anacostia River wetlands, there were quiet a few autumn meadowhawks. They weren’t as good about staying put for a picture as the blue dashers.

Also on the boardwalk, there was a common whitetail with black bands on its wings.

There was a green eastern pondhawk on a sunny spot of the boardwalk as we were walking back along the boardwalk.

It wasn’t until I got home as was looking at my pictures that I realized I had photographed another type of dragonfly among the lotuses: a common baskettail. It was a pleasant surprise!

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Tomorrow I’ll post the other images from our walk around Kenilworth Gardens.

Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens in August 2018 – Part III

Continuing the posts about last week’s visit to  Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens, this post features the birds we saw. The first was a Great Blue Heron in one of the lotus ponds. It was moving around. Maybe it was looking for breakfast, but it didn’t find it while we watched.

We saw a Great Egret just off the boardwalk out over the marsh toward the Anacostia River. It was looking for breakfast…and found a fish!

A fish crow surveyed the marsh overhead….making noise to let the rest of the marsh know we were there.

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Further out toward the river were some more Great Egrets on a snag among the drying lily pads. One flew off its perch after a fish and then continued hunting among the lily pads.

As we walked back through the gardens toward the parking lot, my husband spotted a Great Blue Heron on a bridge over a pond. Do you see it?

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We slowly walked toward it. It noticed us and turned around….then flew off.

We noticed as we crossed the bridge that it must use the bridge railing as a perch frequently – based on the white bird droppings there.

Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens in August 2018 – Part II

Last week we made our last trip to Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens for this year. Today’s post features the insects and a turtle that we saw. There were a few monarch butterflies; there are so few these days that I always celebrate even if I just see one!


The insects my husband wanted to photograph were dragonflies. There were several species flying in the garden but the only ones that sat long enough to photograph were the blue dashers. They like to perch while they survey their surroundings. I photographed individuals on a dried flower (note how battered the wings look),

On signs,

A lotus pod (did something take a bite of the pod?),


And on other vegetation.

My favorite critter of the visit, was a Eastern Painted Turtle. It was getting some sun at the edge of a pond and looking very Zen. It was not still. When I first saw it, the front legs were tucked in. Then it stretched them out and turned itself toward me. I was on the other side of the pond an appreciating the zoom on my camera to capture the turtle without disturbing its morning.

Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens in August 2018 – Part I

Last week we made our last trip to Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens for this year. The lotus flowers are nearing the end although there were still a few plants blooming.

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There are many more seed pods than flowers now…at all stages of development.

The button bushes have a few blooms still…but are also showing off seed pods.

There was an oak leaf in the parking lot that looked a lot like a city map (white roofs) with noticeable greenways.


The rose mallows are still full of buds and blooms.

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I was glad to see the water lilies still blooming. The extra rain might have prolonged their season a bit this year.

Stay tuned for a post about insects and a turtle we saw at Kenilworth tomorrow…and then the birds we saw will be featured in the post for Friday.

Ten Little Celebrations – July 2018

The little celebrations of every day add up to far more joy that the big celebrations of the years. I always find it easy to highlight 10 each month. For this month – I celebrated

Being home again after being away the last 3 weeks of June. I always appreciate being able to have my quiet time…sleep in my own bed.

The CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) bounty. I sign up for the smallest share but it is still a lot. Still - love the fresh veggies and find it easy to ‘eat healthy’ with the abundance and variety.


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Compost in Howard County. I learned a lot when I toured the compost facility in my county and celebrated that they are building a second phase.

A free compost bin. I picked up a free compost bin from the county and have started my one composting – so far so good. I trained enough to be dangerous.

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Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC). I’m always exited to find new/interesting places that are close enough to where live to explore again and again. I am waiting until it is a little cooler to return.

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Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens. One of the places we’ve enjoyed in June-July for the past few years. Lotuses are always worth celebrating.

Photo shoots with summer campers. It’s been a summer volunteer gig for the past few summers – always some results worth celebrating. This year I discovered that it was still good even with it rained.


Wings of Fancy. Butterflies area always worth celebrating…and being At Brookside frequently enough to notice other people celebrating too.

Saddleback caterpillars and sawfly larvae. I always celebrate when I see organisms I’ve heard about but not seen before (I’ll be writing a post about these soon).

Cleaned out flower beds. The vegetation in front of our house was overgrown by the time I got back from Texas. I celebrated when several mornings of work begin to make it tidy.

Kenilworth Gardens – Other Stuff

Of course – lotuses, water lilies, buttonbushes and dragonflies were not the only things to see at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens last weekend. Even in the island of garden in the parking lot there were things to see. The most interesting (to me), were some tiny acorns on a lower branch of an oak

And a blue jay that seemed very acclimated to people.

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I didn’t spend much time on the boardwalk out to the river but was there long enough to capture a sleepy duck.

There were some colorful canna leaves in the morning sun and

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A gall on one of the trees with shelf fungus make it look something like a face (with a few too many eyes and eye brows!).

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The showy flowers of the rose mallow seemed to be everywhere. I love the flowers with their deep red centers but maybe the tightly wrapped petal in bud form are ever more interesting. Enjoy the mallow slide show below!

Kenilworth Gardens – Buttonbushes and Dragonflies

There are other things to see beside lotuses and waterlilies at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens. One of my favorite plants to photograph is the buttonbush in bloom. They were in all stages of bloom development last weekend.

The plants are very attractive to insects. Bees are frequently visitors

As are the small skipper butterflies.

There was one large tiger swallowtail that seems to be methodically getting nectar and staying on once of the balls for a long time…great for picture taking.

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We always look for dragonflies when we visit Kenilworth and last weekend was no exception. There did not seem to be as many of them. The first one I managed to photograph sat on some lotus petals in the deep shade…and was a very small dragonfly.

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The next one was on top of a canna stalk and was the larger variety. It did not stay very long but I did manage to zoom in for close up.

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On my way back toward the visitor center I was photographing water lilies and noticed that one had a dragonfly on it! The zoom helped again since it was another small one.

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Kenilworth Gardens - Lotuses and Water Lilies

We try to make a trek to Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens when the lotuses are blooming….and last weekend was a good time. The day was partly sunny, and we managed to get to the park before the parking lot filled up. There was plenty to see. I’ll be posting about it over the next few days; today I’ve collected the best images of lotuses and water lilies.

There were lotuses in all stages of development. Everything about these plants are beautiful: the shape and texture of the leaves, the buds and flowers standing above the leaves gracefully opening and following the sun, the pods beginning to form. My favorites are the flowers that have a lot of white in their petals with ping around the outer edges.

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I saw a petal in some water near the path and photographed it as the water turned it.

The petals wilt quickly once they fall from the flower so catching them in the cradle of a leaf always seems special to me.

There was an unusual white plant at the edge of the ponds just as we came into the gardens. Was it a kind of lily? I don’t know. It looked exotic to me and I took a picture.

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The water lilies were still blooming in the ponds. Sometimes they are beginning to ebb by the time the lotuses are blooming but this year they seem to be still blooming profusely.

Two flowers that I noticed in my pictures after I got home that looked like they had punches out of their leaves – a lotus and a water lily. I wondered what insect made the holes!

Gleanings of the Week Ending June 30, 2018

The items below were ‘the cream’ of the articles and websites I found this past week. Click on the light green text to look at the article.

The Mysterious Demise of Africa’s Oldest Trees - Yale E360 – Baobab trees that are over 1000 years old are dying quickly…and there is not yet a definitive explanation.

History and Seaports in Charleston : Image of the Day – I visited Charlestown a few years ago on vacation…this picture from the International Space Station brought back memories and provided a different perspective of the place.

Top 25 Birds of Europe – National Geographic Blog – Last week it was Africa…this week it’s Europe.

New study examines impacts of fracking on water supplies worldwide - GeoSpace - AGU Blogosphere – Maps make it easy to look at complex data in a visual way. My take away from these maps of water supply and shale basin areas is that Texas has a lot of shale in areas that are already under water stress….fresh water is already being consumed unsustainably.

BBC - Future - Why non-smokers are getting lung cancer – I’ve wondered about non-smokers and lung cancer. The numbers are not huge…but they are often diagnosed late and are, therefore, more deadly.

Seventeenth-Century Danish Latrines Analyzed - Archaeology Magazine – Diet and parasites from more than 300 years ago.

Move Over, Monarchs: Another Butterfly Makes a Longer One-Way Migration - Yale E360 – Painted Lady Butterflies from southern Europe migrate across the Mediterranean through the Sahara to tropical Africa!

Discover Landscape Architecture Activity Books – THE DIRT – There are activity books for younger students and then teens/adults. I am reading the adult version and then will try to apply some of the activities when I travel…encourage new appreciation of the as-built landscape architecture of the places I visit.

2018 Lotus And Water Lily Festival At Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens – My husband and I don’t go to the festival but we do go the Kenilworth several times in July…expect lotus and water lily (and dragon fly) posts soon!

Lives before and after Stonehenge: An osteobiographical study of four prehistoric burials recently excavated from the Stonehenge World Heritage Site – Lifestyle rather than ethnicity seems to determine burial practices in this instance.

Kenilworth Park & Aquatic Gardens – Part 2

We saw quite a few animals among the plants at Kenilworth last Saturday. The dragonflies were not quite as numerous as they will be later when the lotuses are blooming. There wasn’t as much vegetation for them to set on either. The best shot I got of one was on the path.

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There was a scruffy looking Great Blue Heron on a path as well. It was preening and then spread its wings – stretching. I was surprised it did not fly away --- but maybe it did not notice we were around. There were not many people in the garden when we first got there.

A little further along a snapping turtle crossed the path to get to another pool. We let it continue along its way. It was bigger than a dinner plate!

As we were walking back toward the entrance after our trek on the boardwalk over the flood plain of the Anacostia River, we saw a muskrat in on of the water lily ponds. It looked like it was eating a tuber. Hopefully the animals do not take a big toll on the water lilies and lotuses of the garden.

Close to the visitor center there was a group of Canadian geese – adults and large goslings. We gave them plenty of room since the parents can be very aggressive if they have their young. We managed to not be attacked!

Kenilworth Park & Aquatic Gardens – Part 1

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We made our first trip of the season to Kenilworth Park & Aquatic Gardens yesterday. We usually do not go until late June when the lotuses are blooming….but we both wanted a short activity for the morning that involved photography. Kenilworth was a good choice.

The sweet bay magnolias that have been planted within the gardens over the past few years were blooming. They are not a large as the southern magnolias – their smaller proportions a quite appealing along paths of places like Kenilworth.

There were three types of flags in bloom at the edges of the ponds: 2 native – Iris prismatica (the slender blue flag iris)

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And the Iris versicolor (the larger blue iris), and

One invasive Iris pseudacorus (the yellow flag iris).

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The water lilies – white and pink – were the most numerous flowers of the day.

Tomorrow I’ll post about the animals we saw.