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.
Gaia Gardener says
I think the Liatris may be dotted gayfeather, Liatris punctata. I’ve got it in my back pasture and it bloomed beautifully this year – it’s one of the latest plants of the year and keeps me waiting for what feels like months, looking like it will bloom any day!
What a wonderful gift that prairie park sounds like!
Heather @ what's blooming this week says
Just read your article on blogging in the GWA Q&T newsletter and thought I would stop by and see your blog. Of course, I’m not disappointed – it looks great. Love the posting about your area parks. I’ll be back.
Dee Nash says
Thank you Heather. I like your blog too.
I can’t believe that Liatirs looks so good growing on the edge of that clay. It must have fried this summer, yet it still blooms. I thought your physalis looked like one of the solanums that come up in waste areas around here and googled it finding out they are the same family.
What a lovely park! We have a park with a small prairie restoration area that I like to visit when I can. Sophie (my Golden) especially enjoys going with me. I stop to enjoy the plants and snap a few photos, and she sniffs out the unfamiliar smells of wildlife:) Your white aster looks like one that grows wild here, but I can’t remember its name.
Lisa at Greenbow says
This sounds like my kind of place. You can bird in the early morning hours, take a hike until it warms up. Then admire the plantings and watch butterflies. Yep, I could spend the day I would say.
That is a dream park, with so many paths, Dee. I am glad you husband had a hand in helping make it so people friendly. Lucky birders to have such a place to spot things like tohees. We see them in winter, haven’t seen any yet, but with the leaves still on the trees, most of the birds are well hidden. I love the Liatris.
rock rose says
I do so love the liatris and goldenrod. Now if only I could get my septic field to look like that but try as I may only prickly pear grows there.
Speaking of migration of fall. On our trip to west Texas last weekend the Monarchs followed us all the way there, or excuse me we were following them. Incidentally, and I say that sarcastically, the Liatris were blooming all the way from Kansas to West Texas. Can we say provision. I think it might be L.spicata. However, my spicata bloomed a lot earlier this summer, so not sure. Nice post, looks like Kansas.
What a lovely place for a walk! How nice to see those native plants stand up to your rough summer.
Benjamin Vogt says
Ah Dee, those liatris look like ones I got from TX. They’ve had buds for months it seems, and I thought they’d never bloom, but they just started. I think they are too acclimated to a southern time scale! But it’s warm here, dry, but warm. Liatris mucronata?
What a nice park this is Dee. Another place for us to visit when we get back to OK to see good friends and family. xxoogail
I just love the fall flora. The smells, colors and activity by birds and insects leads to a flurry of activity. Hope things are cooling down for you.
Dee Nash says
Me too, my friend. It’s been a long time coming.
Cindy, MCOK says
Dee, what a treasure Mitch park is! I would love to walk it with you.
Dee Nash says
All of the Edmond parks are great. There’s another one with prairie beside the Dog Park. It also has a very young arboretum.