The long, cool, wet spring is now a distant memory as summer has landed with full force! The gardens look beautiful at Cylburn with lots of flowers blooming, everything from sun-lovers to plants that prefer shady corners. The park is also replete with birds, butterflies, and other creatures, including kids galore enjoying CAA Nature Camp. Here is just a sampling of some of the flora, fauna and a few other things to keep an eye out for the next time you’re here for a walk.
In the gardens near the mansion, you’ll find many members of the Asteraceae family including the summer classics Leucanthemum (Shasta daisy), Coreopsis (Tickseed), and Echinacea (Cone flower).
Also look for Consolida ajacis (Larkspur). This Mediterranean native is an annual that self-seeds freely, blooming all summer in dry, hot, sunny areas, in shades of white, pink and blue. And Stachys byzantina (Lamb’s Ear), easily identified by the “furry” appearance of the leaves.
In the Moudry Woods you’ll find Hydrangea quercifolia (Oakleaf Hydrangea). This white-blooming hydrangea, native to the southeastern United States, has large panicles pointing upward over the foliage resembling oak tree leaves. Very dependable and easy to grow in sun or part shade, this shrub also offers russet-colored fall foliage. Also keep an eye out for Punica granatum (Pomegranate) blooming profusely this year with its distinctive red blossoms.
Flowers are not the only things in abundance at Cylburn. A number of year-round Maryland birds are also common at the Arboretum including the Carolina Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, White-breasted Nuthatch, Carolina Wren, American Goldfinch, House Finch, American Robin, and Northern Cardinal. In fact, Cylburn is a hotspot on eBird, a free online resource run by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. EBird compiles data on what birders have seen, where and when. It is a great way to record sightings, or to check on what others have seen. For Cylburn, eBird lists 165 species observed in the park.
According to Peter Lev, President of the Baltimore Bird Club which often meets at Cylburn, this is probably a bit low because lots of birding went on at Cylburn before eBird became popular. We asked Lev what birds visitors might see at Cylburn in June and July—nesting season. He went to eBird and looked at 12-month bar charts for all species. Spring and fall migrations are the times to see the maximum number of species but summer is best for looking for breeding birds. In addition to the common breeds above, some nesters found at Cylburn include the Chipping Sparrow, Gray Catbird, House Wren, and even our state bird, the Baltimore Oriole (though you are more likely to see an Oriole in May). Lev suggests checking out eBird – there’s even an app you can download to your phone! Also, to learn more about the Baltimore Bird Club, their events and newsletter, click here.
Bees and butterflies can be found in abundance in the gardens in the summer. Recently we’ve spotted Monarchs, Eastern Tiger Swallowtails, and even a rare Pink-edge Sulphur! The bees are always buzzing. All of the winged creatures, even the bats, play a critical role in pollinating plants. We’re happy to be a stop and/or home to so many of them!
Summertime is also camp time at Cylburn and we’re delighted to welcome more than a hundred children this summer over a span of four weeks. They’re having some wildlife encounters of their own! And Dr. Abner Lall returned on two occasions to lead a firefly walk. This popular event draws a great crowd each year to learn about these winged beetles. To see Dr. Lall’s blog post about fireflies, click here.
Summer is the season to enjoy the outdoors! In addition to sunny gardens and green space, Cylburn has nearly four miles of wooded trails including an ADA accessible trail which has just been completed. New maps are available at the Vollmer Visitor Center or click here for a peek at the possibilities. Hiking isn’t the only opportunity to get fit at Cylburn — Coppermine Fitness offers free yoga every Saturday morning at 8:30 am. We hope to see you soon! Visit Cylburn.org anytime for information about upcoming programs.
Always in Bloom!
We’re delighted that Cylburn now has a new permanent sculpture by a local Maryland artist. With thanks to the generosity of A.C. & Penney Hubbard, “Spring Dawn” by Matthew Harris is now on display in the clearing by the Vollmer Visitor Center. See it on your right as you enter the Arboretum and make the turn in front of the center to the parking lot.
Matthew Harris is a Maryland blacksmith who creates architectural metalwork and sculpture. After completing an apprenticeship with Master Blacksmith Alphonsus Moolenschot, Matthew went on to work in several architectural metalwork and industrial forging shops and also studied art and business at Cecil College. Since 2005, he has owned and operated Harris Metalsmith Studio. His specialty is hot forging one-of-a-kind forms, textures, and elements. His sculptural work is on display in many public settings and private residences. You can see his work here.
A.C. & Penney Hubbard are longtime Baltimore philanthropists and gardeners. The Hubbards’ Baltimore garden has been featured in national and regional magazines, is a destination for national and regional garden tours, and has been listed in the Smithsonian Archives of American Gardens. It is also the subject of On Walnut Hill, a gorgeous book written by Kathy Hudson with photographs by Roger Foley.