In Edmond, Oklahoma, there are several parks. One is Mitch Park, best known for fields where the ping of softball on aluminum bat can be heard most weekends spring and fall. But, the park contains secrets within its walking trails behind the backstop. City planners created a prairie within the open spaces, and the birds and other creatures don’t seem to mind sharing their urban habitat. Why doesn’t the city on its website, highlight the diversity of wildlife and wildflowers living within the park instead of merely the covered picnic areas?
It’s not the only walking park within the city, but its complicated, five-mile, network of trails make it my favorite.
Last week, I noticed the liatris was blooming brighter and more profusely than it had in years so I grabbed my little Nikon Coolpix P300 and shot a few pics the next day. Diva was home from school, and she joined me. She talked while I snapped photo after photo. She said she didn’t mind.
“It’s what you do,” she said.
Not all plants suffered in last summer’s heat and drought. Some of the natives loved the unseasonably, awful weather. Natives, which we grow in our own gardens, often like their soil lean and mean with no amendments–although that isn’t always true. You can tell when you’ve made their accommodations too rich, because they flop over and look nothing like their wild counterparts.
Birders especially love this park. I see several every morning, binoculars around their necks, pointing toward the trees. Yes, Mitch has both forest and short-grass prairie, and because of this, attracts many different types of birds. I chatted with a couple of bird watchers Thursday. They said the winter birds are starting to arrive. They saw Towhees that day. Both birders were as excited as a gardener on the first day of spring. I don’t believe I’ve ever seen a Towhee except in pictures.
Other people enjoy the park by biking, walking and running the paths, some of which my husband refurbished and paved a few years ago. I like that there is so much diversity within this large space of hills and valleys. You can take a different path each day if you want. People bring their dogs. I have too, and there is a special fountain for human and pup alike on one side of the park. Edmond also has a specific Dog Park on Rankin and 33rd, but dogs on leashes are welcome in every park.
Visit soon for the wildflowers, and don’t be surprised if you see me trailing along in my New Balance hikers. If you do, tread along with me, and we’ll talk of prairie plants and the migration of fall.