A river runs through our Pennsylvania mountains. A lovely river... the West Branch of the Susquehanna River. The banks of the river are fun to explore. Won't you join me on a late-summer riverside ramble?
The riverine setting, along with the unique flora and fauna of the riparian habitat, provides a great place to ramble. There is so much to see!
I especially enjoy the community flourishing on the shoreline and the low terraces which are periodically exposed during times of low water.
With a cursory glance, the river bank looks scruffy and overgrown, but personally I think it has a beauty all it's own... rivaling a garden.
Let's take a look at the plants in this fantastic riverside garden. My favorite is the Purple Aster... lookin' good there in the foreground (photo above) against the muted lavender of the Joe-pye Weed, the white of the Boneset and the yellow of the Sneezeweed.
The brilliant red of the Cardinal flower is also there in the mix.
Cardinal Flowers attract many hummingbirds and swallowtail butterflies. Here is a photo of a Spicebush Swallowtail as it flutters on a Cardinal Flower.
Here an Orange Sulfur Butterfly is nectaring on this Boneset.
The floodplain is bustling with butterflies, beetles, and other buzzing beings. This insect horde seems to find the riverside garden very attractive, but not all streamside plants benefit these insects. Some plants "eat" them. The minute, carnivorous Round-leaf Sundews grow between the stones in the more open areas. The sundew's leaves are covered with stalked beads of glue which act like flypaper and ensnare insects that make contact. Upon catching an insect the "tentacles" encircle the insect and digest it.
The Round-leaf Sundews add to the garden's beauty and intrigue with their sparkling jewels of sticky glue.
Other members of this riverside community are bushes and birches and rushes.