Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Among Trees Rescheduled for Saturday, June 18, 4pm

Among Trees, rained out this past weekend, has been rescheduled for this Saturday, June 18, at 4pm. This is a free event--a celebration of nature in songs, scenes, poetry and more--outdoors next to Veblen House in Herrontown Woods. Some of the readings, by professional actors, will be of new nature writings gathered from the Princeton community. The Princeton Public Library is co-hosting the event.

Parking at 452 Herrontown Road. Or park at the main parking lot at 600 Snowden Lane, across from the entrance to Smoyer Park, and walk up the orange trail to Veblen House.

Donations go to support the work of the Friends of Herrontown Woods. 

More information and a map at HerrontownWoods.org.

Sunday, June 12, 2022

Event: "Among Trees" Postponed Due to Rain

The return of Among Trees to the Veblen House grounds has been postponed, due to thunderstorms in the forecast.

Last year's Among Trees brought together on stage for the first time professional actors Vivia Font, Ben Steinfeld, and Kathryn Powell Roman, who have since formed the Princeton Actors Collective. 

Among Trees intersperses readings of nature poetry with music by area musicians, in the shade of the Veblen House grounds. 

Rescheduling is in the works. The postponement underscores the need for a sheltered indoor/outdoor space as a fallback for events such as this.

Friday, June 3, 2022

Recent Sightings at the Barden

One thing people love about the Barden is that there's always something new. In that respect, it is a dynamic landscape like a beach, or a river. Here are a few recent sightings. 

Thanks to Montgomery resident Laura Heil, the Barden now has a Free Little Library, tucked behind the kiosk next to the parking lot. The Princeton Public Library will be providing books. 

The gazebo at the Barden is one of several structures at Herrontown Woods saved from demolition. It was moved from 145 Ewing Street, where for decades it had been part of a lovely backyard garden. We also salvaged a rose bush from that garden, and this year, reunited with the gazebo, it is blooming. 

The Veblen Circle of native wildflowers is beginning a season of blooms with beardtongue, in the plantain family. The Barden is a great place to learn your plants, with many labeled.

One thing we're trying to get organized about is selling native plants. The many native plants we have in the Barden produce many seeds, many of which sprout wherever they fall, often in pathways and other places where we can't let them grow. Many of these we are digging up and potting up. One of these days, one of us will make a sign with a QR code so that people can pay online for any plants they wish to buy. 

Felix showed off some minnows he'd found in the stream that cascades down from the ridge, not far from the Barden. They soon found their way back to water. He's also found crayfish in the streams near the parking lot.

Many young visitors to the Barden have enjoyed taking a ride on Champion, the great rocking horse that we found on the curb on Aiken Avenue a couple years back. Champion was defintely not ready for the landfill. Recently, though, Champion had a bit of a fall and needed to go to the vet, who performed a complicated spring reattachment procedure. 

All went well, and Champion has returned, to rock the place once more.

The Barden is a botanical garden after all, and spring is a wonderful time to get acquainted with all the grass-like plants that aren't grasses. Here's blue-eyed grass, also called Sisyrhinchium, which if you look closely you'll see it has flat leaves and is actually related to iris. Providing a subtle background is pathrush, which looks like grass but is a rush, most commonly found growing in pathways, where it apparently likes getting stepped on.
Another grass-like plant is the sedge. Sedges have edges, meaning they have triangular stems. There many kinds of sedges, each kind with a differently shaped seedhead. This one's called morning star sedge--a fitting name. 
Softrush keeps its dark green leaves through the winter, then grows a whole new batch in the spring. The seeds perch on the stems like earrings.
New growth on a witch hazel had an unexpected color this year.
Little did we know that Herrontown Woods was listed as one of the Best Hikes for Children in New Jersey, in 2005. The book's description motivated a family to come from Long Beach Island to visit us with their three adorable little kids. What they particularly appreciated was how close everything was to the parking lot--the Barden, the vernal pool with tadpoles in it, and the stream just a little bit down the trail. 

The Barden is a place not only to see new things, but also to make new friends.